NEW ZEALAND — More than 100 people are being forced out of the community of Whakatanes in the remote Alaric Valley due to a lack of space, water and medical supplies.
The community of about 4,000 people, about an hour’s drive from the nearest town of Nelson, was recently declared a no-go area for some of the country’s oldest and most isolated communities.
It has been a particularly bad week for the community, which has struggled to deal with a string of deadly earthquakes in recent months.
Last month, a massive quake struck the town and killed two people.
In October, a second quake hit the region and killed three people, including a 10-year-old boy.
Whakatani resident Sarah Smith said the quake had caused so much damage that it had to be shut down.
“We’re just looking for anything that we can,” Smith said.
Smith said it was “just not safe for our children and we don’t have enough space to do that anymore.”
The group of residents has been in contact with authorities, but so far, no plans have been made to reopen.
They’ve got about a week to get through the emergency response process, and they’ve been told to be ready to move if necessary, said Rob Scott, the Alarics regional manager.
But that’s not the only problem.
About 100 people have been relocated to the town of Whangarei, where they have to find another accommodation.
At least 12 other residents are also in quarantine and will have to be removed from the community.
Scott said the community was struggling to cope with a lack for food, water, and medical resources.
A local government spokesman said they were unable to confirm where the community is currently living.
This is the first time in history that a no go area has been declared in Alarica, Scott said.
“I don’t think there’s ever been any no-gore areas that haven’t been declared,” he said.
But that has not stopped people from venting their frustrations online.
One of the many angry comments on a Facebook page calling for the closure of the Whakatsana area was quickly removed.
There are no plans to reopen the community any time soon, said community leader Richard Williams.
Smith says she is grateful to the local authorities, who have offered her the option of moving.
But she wants the community to be allowed to move.
People have been posting pictures and videos on social media of the damaged houses they are living in, but Williams says they are not allowed to enter them.
Williams said the only way to move the community would be to get the state and local governments to do something.
He said they have not been able to find the money to help rebuild the houses.
We are going to rebuild these houses and I’m asking the people of Alarico to do their part,” he added.
With more than 50% of the Alaro community under quarantine, and many homes completely destroyed, it is unclear how long the residents will be allowed back.
As of Sunday, there were about 10 people still living in the community living with others who have been evacuated.