4 Aug 2008

Fears of more slips in Wellington region

5:03 pm on 4 August 2008

More slips are feared in Wellington following heavy rain over the weekend.

The city council says its engineers and contractors are working to clear roads blocked by mud, rubble and trees. On Sunday, more than 20 slips were reported, with some too dangerous to clear.

The council says more slips could occur over the next few days as soil moisture levels remain high.

One house, in the suburb of Aro Valley, was evacuated on Sunday after a slip eroded its foundations and blocked the street. The house is high up a steep slope on Devon Street, and about 20 metres above the roadside.

Radio New Zealand's reporter at the scene on Sunday said the slip left the house piles exposed in one corner and a large amount of earth had spilled on to the footpath, blocking Devon Street and pushing a car into a nearby fence.

Wellington City Council says six of the home's occupants were asked to leave the property at about 8am on Sunday.

Resident Samuel Geers says two trees on the edge of the property fell over earlier this week, creating cracks in the earth. He says he and his flatmates have contemplated sleeping in their cars until they are told whether or not they can return.

Council officials are waiting for feedback from engineers and the Insurance Council before they start cleaning up the slip.

The council said a big slip in Farnham Street in the suburb of Mornington was reportedly covering most of the road and has damaged two cars.

Other large slips have been reported in Miramar, Kilbirnie, Mt Cook, Houghton Bay, Kelburn, Northland, Karori and Khandallah.