Mudslide fills historic cottage
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 6:11p.m.
By Hamish Clark
Mud up to a metre deep has filled a historic cottage in Lyttelton after heavy rain triggered a massive mudslide.
The owners were evacuated before the mud hit, but now they're left with tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The mud is everywhere – thick, brown, dirty and deep.
"Coming back today we expected to find the houses in pieces," says Belinda de Bono.
The mudslide triggered after a week of heavy rain pushed its way through the back door on Monday night and spewed through the house, engulfing the kitchen.
"The bathroom filled, the door was then forced open and it flew into the kitchen area and spread throughout the house over the last two days," says Ms de Bono.
The cottage is the third-oldest in Lyttelton, and only last Friday Ms De Bono and Harry Peterson received confirmation that EQC would fix the home after the earthquakes.
Now the house is suffering under the strain of all the mud. "The concerning thing is any more rain and it keeps pushing the side of the house there, half our house will end up next door in the neighbour's house," says Mr Peterson.
The entire east coast of the South Island has been hit by the heavy downpour. Up to 200mm has fallen in the past three days, flooding State Highway 1 near Oamaru.
The Kakanui River was bank-to-bank, claiming livestock along the way down stream.
"A lot of livestock lost a lot of dead lambs on the neighbours' properties, and that its just one of those things you have got to put up with," says Sandy Harper.
"We are getting pretty sick of it, really," says farmer Peter Rowland.
Mr Rowland finished lambing 10 days ago and has kept a close eye on those that have made it.
"It can stop any time it likes," he says.
For Ms de Bono and Mr Peterson, they are trying to save what they can – memories from the past as they try to dig out of their own nightmare.
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