Elderly stuck in shocking conditions, say farmers

6:54 am on 7 March 2011

Farmers working to clear silt in Christchurch say they're finding elderly people barricaded in their homes, living in shocking conditions.

John Hartnell of Federated Farmers says there are homes with up to a foot of silt inside, but the elderly occupants are too afraid to leave and seek help.

"There are people really struggling, they don't have enough food, water's a problem and there's cases where people have been too scared to come out of their properties and it's taken a degree of coaxing to get them to come out and let us come in to help them."

Mr Hartnell says many have no power, running water or sanitation services. The farmer volunteers have lifted carpets and dried out homes as best they can.

He says the volunteer group, nicknamed the Farmy Army, will be out in force from 18-20 March for a final push to clear up properties and he wants to hear from anyone who needs a hand.