Farmy Army puts away the shovels - for now

1:46 pm on 5 March 2011

The clean-up volunteer group nicknamed the Farmy Army are winding down their operations after clearing 50,000 tonnes of silt from Christchurch homes and dumping it on the roadside.

The group, organised by Federated Farmers, say they need to clear the way for trucks to gather up the silt and take it away.

They say so much has been gathered into piles that contractors need a free hand to sweep through the streets and gather it all up without large numbers of volunteers getting in the way.

The volunteers say, though, that they'll be back on the weekend of 19-20 March to give the worst-hit areas a final clean-up.

They say the workers have contributed 30,000 man-hours of toil clearing silt that has been clogging up people's homes.

One person who contacted them is Deborah Rogers, of Dallington, who says she has worn herself out trying to clear the silt from her property.

"It stinks so much and it attracts the flies - and it's leaching water everywhere. I think I've probably got 50 barrowloads out but I can't do any more, I just don't have the energy any more."

Student army does its part

Meanwhile, another army - the one consisting of Canterbury student volunteers - says it has completed its part of cleaning up liquefaction silt from Christchurch streets.

Thousands of students have spent the past 10 days using wheelbarrows and shovels, mostly in the hard-hit eastern suburbs.

Organiser Sam Johnson says volunteers have put in an amazing effort, shifting tens of thousands of tonnes of silt.

He says volunteers will still be available to clean up any remaining pockets of silt and can be contacted on 0508 Student.