Army trucks arrive in quake-stricken Kaikoura

9:23 pm on 18 November 2016

A convoy of 27 army trucks carrying essential supplies for Kaikoura Hospital has arrived in the town.

The trucks made their way to the settlement, which has been isolated since Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake, over the treacherous inland highway north of Waiau.

The trucks were held up yesterday when heavy rain increased the risk of already unstable landslides coming down on the road.

Fine weather today allowed the trucks to move on from Culverden and Rotherham, where they'd been forced to stop overnight.

The convoy is the first major overland effort to supply Kaikoura, which has been cut off from the north and south by massive slips across State Highway 1.

The four-wheel-drive trucks set off from Hurunui at 7am, taking about 10 hours to complete the trip.

They were unloading food, fuel, water and other essential supplies at the town's racecourse, to be taken to the hospital.

The army would also be supplying freshly cooked meals to residents from now on, thanks to a team of chefs that arrived as part of the convoy.

The man in charge of the convoy, Captain Jeff Howell, paid tribute to his troops for making it through today without any major incidents.

Supplies also coming by air

Four helicopters - from Canada, the United States and Australia - were also helping offload supplies, from the HMNZS Canterbury off the coast of Kaikoura.

The aid includes 13,000kg of food, 80 portable toilets, four generators, two portable pumps and 10,000kg of pet food.

The Canterbury's commanding officer, Commander Simon Rooke, said they hoped the support was bolstering the spirits of people in Kaikoura.

Meanwhile, the Kaikoura District Council said residents on the north side of the Hapuku River have nothing to fear at this stage from a landslide dam that has built up in the river.

The dam was caused by an avalanche set off by Monday's quake.

It has been threatening to burst and release a torrent of water down the river, possibly taking out the SH1 bridge.

This would leave those on the other side, who were already cut off by large slips to the north, on a virtual island

Inspections of the dam were carried out today and the council said at this stage it was not looking like bursting through the blockage.

Farmer Alastair Caldwell had earlier parked one of his cars on the south side of the river, just in case.

"We're elevated enough that if anything happened. the water wasn't going to be a problem and OK if the bridge disappeared, well, OK we'd just face that when the time came."