Agonising wait for news of loved ones living in quake zone

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Cllr Hannah Hockaday

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WORRIED families across the UK have been desperate for news of loved ones in the South Island city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

One of those was Councillor Olwyn Kennedy, who sits on Havant Borough Council.

Her brother Ian Thresh and his family live close to the city and are members of the congregation of historic Christchurch Cathedral, which was severely damaged by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

There was a scramble to rescue visitors inside the building.

Cllr Kennedy, from Hayling Island, said: ‘Of course I’m so pleased my family are safe but I feel such concern for everyone else.

‘I’ve just had a phone call from my brother and his wife Wendy. Power has been restored but there is a great deal of damage.

‘They are surrounded by 8ft of water as the ground has suffered liquefaction which produces ground water.

‘They have a neighbour of 80 who is originally from Yorkshire.

‘She scalded her arm when making tea just as the quake struck but the arm has been dressed and she is carrying on as normal.

‘This appears to be the spirit out there.

‘My niece has managed a meal for everyone using the barbecue and they are going to sleep in a tent in the garden tonight, much to the delight of the children, they do not want to back into the house.

‘The family are now going out to see what they can do to help and support their neighbours.’

More shocks have been felt throughout the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile search and rescue experts from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and 12 other teams from the UK are preparing to fly out to New Zealand to assist with the rescue operation.