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Canterbury Clean Up Begins

28 February 2011

NEW ZEALAND - Yesterday, 800 Federated Farmers members and volunteers removed over 1,000 tonnes of debris caused by Tuesday’s earthquake.

Federated Farmers is making an open request for as many loaders and diggers to a gross weight of three-tonne (a one tonne increase over yesterday) to join the clean up effort from Monday.

An estimated 1,000 tonnes of earthquake debris was today removed from the Christchurch suburb of New Brighton, heavily impacted by last Tuesday’s earthquake. In the last several days Federated Farmers has been working in St Martins and St Albans, with 240 volunteers being in St Albans yesterday.

“There are a heck of a lot of tired people who are now being fed and watered by our colleagues from Rural Woman New Zealand,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers earthquake spokesperson.

“Today we deployed 40 teams of twenty apiece into the New Brighton area, which is almost unrecognisable after the quake. For the first time in the clean-up we got to use some of our light weight specialised equipment to get into residential properties.

“It’s on the conservative side, but over 1,000 tonnes of debris would have been removed today from residential properties. In the enormity of what’s there we’ve made a deep scratch because there’s so much more to do.

“In the coming days our operation will go down a gear as we cycle new people into the operation. It has to be remembered that after today, all farmers have to get back to their day jobs as farmers.

“Yet there’ll be plenty of new faces coming into this operation as we cycle through our volunteers. That farmer ethos of seeing something through is incredibly strong. It’s why I guess Mayor Bob Parker has described Federated Farmers as the ‘Farmy Army’ and why others see us as the ‘Farm e-Army’.

“Frankly it’s a huge team effort and wouldn’t be possible without our very good friends from New Zealand Young Farmers, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, Rural Woman NZ, Rural Contractors, farmers and the local residents and businesses of Christchurch.

“Let alone the support of Silver Fern Farms, Tegel Chicken, Caltex, Rabobank and NZ Safety.

“So while there will be some knackered people, there’s a sense of achievement in making a difference to the lives of residents. It’s remarkable how a smile and some home baking can suddenly make that sore back disappear.

“So we’ll be back at the A+P Showgrounds tomorrow first thing to commence day three.

“Can I please just repeat the open call for light loaders and diggers. We need as much light kit in Christchurch as possible to speed things along,” Mr Hartnell concluded.

Farmers wishing to help in the clean up can do so by registering at the A & P showgrounds between 7am and 2pm.

Equipment needed includes light loader tractors (three tonne maximum gross weight), light diggers (three tonne maximum gross weight), wheel barrows and shovels, larger passenger vehicles including 4WD, trailers, suitable clothing and personal protection equipment (eg gumboots essential with sunscreen, gloves, face masks etc), full change of clothing and toiletries, packed lunches and bottled water.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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