Oaro residents - 'Don't forget about us'

By Lynette Amoroa

The small community of Oaro just 15 kilometers south of Kaikoura are without running water and power with no access via roads.

Amelia Taylor from Kaikoura visited a friend in Oaro the day the 7.5 quake hit since then she’s been blocked in and says the panic is starting to creep in.

“At the moment where I’m staying they’ve got their own water supply, but it’s actually blocked somewhere, so they have to walk across the river and up the valley to find the blockage to get the water flowing again.”

Some roads in Oaru have lifted over a metre high due to the earthquake, and both the northern and southern bridges are damaged.

Oaro is a Māori community with around 40 people mostly elderly. “Everyone is pulling together, although the elderly are getting a little bit worried because of the water issues and the no water and kai.

Last night the residents congregated at one home to watch television. “One of the residents has a generator and we all met at their house to watch the news, and then we all inform each other on how everyone is doing”.

After watching the news coverage in Kaikoura and other quake-hit regions the Oaro residents felt left out, “Don’t forget about the small isolated parts in Kaikoura. I’m saying that because I’ve been talking with locals here watching the 6pm coverage in all the other areas and we are sitting here thinking, what about us?”

Taylor says the main concern at the moment is water, “We aren’t even sure how long the road is going to be closed for because we can’t get contact with anyone. We’ve been told it could be up to two weeks.”

Despite this, she says the community are self-sufficient and most of them were prepared for a natural disaster. “We are not really scared because everyone is pulling together, we are surviving.”