Cut-off farmers calling out for help

8:15 pm on 17 November 2016

North Canterbury farmers cut off by Monday's earthquake are calling out for help and are frustrated that helicopters have been flying over them to Kaikoura and not stopping to check on them, Federated Farmers says.

Kaikoura earthquake - NZ Defence Force helicopter

A New Zealand Defence Force helicopter arriving at the rugby grounds in Kaikoura Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Federated Farmers spokesperson Katie Milne said they had managed to reach isolated farms by helicopter yesterday, and were greeted by some very relieved farmers.

They were very pleased to see someone, they'd been able to hear the choppers going backwards and forwards and seen the odd news one go through, she said.

Katie Milne

Katie Milne Photo: Supplied

"One actually disturbed a bit of stock and upset people.

"No one called in to see how they were, even when they were waving their arms."

Farmers are very self-sufficient, but they were running out of consumables, Ms Milne said.

However, it was being cut off that was getting to them, she said.

"It's the isolation factor of 'If things get worse, what are we going to do next?' We're feeling like nobody knows we exist.

"[It is] absolutely frustrating because they had no communications and they are completely cut off. They [are] pretty desperate."

The reality of living in an isolated area with no power, communications or internet was frightening, Ms Milne said.

"If you can't call a Westpac rescue helicopter when you need it because your comms are down - that's a very scary situation to be in."

She said the damage was widespread throughout North Canterbury.

"There is no rhyme or reason to who's badly affected and who's not, some of the homesteads are written off."

In the distance dairy cows and Simon Mackle's dairy farm can be seen in Kaikoura.

A dairy farm in Kaikoura Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Farmers calling out for help

Farmers in the region have been calling out for help with their stock while they try and put their houses, sheds and water systems back together.

Hurunui district councillor and Cheviot farmer Vince Daly said any help would be appreciated.

"It really would be good to get some guys with dogs ... who are good stockmen to help.

"There's one farmer whose house is stuffed and his father's, and he is busy trying to do that but his calves need marking and are getting bigger by the day.

"If people could ring Federated Farmers help line and get their names put on a list."

Federated Farmers' helpline is 0800 FARMING.

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