Homes still unsafe for 40 families as repairs continue
CALL CENTRE: Around 1,500 properties were damaged in the quake – and the council’s emergency centre is still taking calls
ABOUT 1,500 properties were damaged in Saturday’s earthquake.
Buildings are still being assessed and made safe by staff from Shepway District Council, whose team of 18 building control officers and structural engineers are being helped by colleagues from other Kent authorities.
Around 40 properties are still unsafe for people to return home.
The number fluctuates as buildings are made safe by building control staff and the emergency services, and others are found to be unsafe as investigations progress.
The council housed five fam- ilies in a hotel, though many more made their own arrangements, staying with friends or family.
An emergency call centre was set up by the council for people to report damage to property, and calls are still coming in.
The numbers are 01303 853566 or 01303 853567.
Council chief executive Alistair Stewart said: “The safety of people living here is our top concern.
“Our surveyors have worked all weekend to assess damaged homes and advise people on whether there are any immediate dangers. “They have also been working with Kent Fire and Rescue Service, removing damaged chimneys and making buildings safe.
“Everyone has been very shocked by this incident, and I would like to thank everyone living here for their calm approach and co-operation in working with us to assess the damage.”
Mr Stewart also praised the emergency services, the Salvation Army, which opened its doors to provide a rest centre for displaced families, council staff who worked all weekend and staff from neighbouring authorities who came to help.
And he said the council would help people who needed to get their properties repaired.
“We are aware that over the coming weeks people will have to apply to insurance companies and deal with landlords and managing agents,” he added.
“We have set up a team to help people with paperwork and guide them. Over the coming days we will be looking at what other help people need and doing our best to meet their needs.”
The council has put information on its website for the public. Visit www.shepway.gov.uk
Precarious – a damaged chimney in need repairs
The quake left debris strewn across roads and pavements
Shocked townspeople try to find out what was happening
An elderly woman and her pet are led to safety