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

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK -

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.

Im­me­di­ate dan­gers

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.shep­

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

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