Elderly transferred to Dunedin

A 102-year-old woman is among 16 elderly people transferred to Dunedin from a Christchurch retirement home last night after it partially collapsed during the earthquake on Tuesday.

The group arrived at Leith House Rest Home in George St late last night, exhausted and with just the clothes on their backs after spending the past three nights sleeping on the lounge floor of their rest-home.

Leith House service co-ordinator Barbara Alderson said some of them had wounds which needed attention, others had not slept for days and none of them had been able to clean their false teeth since the quake.

Ms Alderson said it was not clear whether their stay in Dunedin was temporary or permanent.

She said part of their rest-home in Redcliffs had collapsed which is believed to have killed the home's manager.

More elderly people are expected to arrive in Dunedin from Christchurch rest-homes today, and Ms Alderson called on ministers in the community to volunteer time to counsel them at the home.

"They're quite resilient. They've lived through World War 2.

"But these people are going to be lost and will need comforting."

She also asked Dunedin residents to donate clothing, especially bed clothing, because these people had arrived with nothing.

"We are operating at capacity. It's busy here, but we are managing," she said.

The 16 were among about 200 elderly residents being moved from Christchurch yesterday.

Minister of Health Tony Ryall said many rest-home residents needed new accommodation as centres were uninhabitable.

"Many are being taken home by family members, and others are being moved by the air force to facilities around the South Island."

About 50 independent elderly residents had been referred to welfare centres.

Violet Jones, an 86-year-old resident of the Kate Sheppard Retirement Village in badly hit New Brighton, said she had been moved from her damaged unit to a two-storeyed part of the facility.

Others at the retirement village were moving to the North Island.

Patients from Christchurch hospitals have also been moved out of the region to other areas, to free up beds for quake victims.

- Additional reporting NZPA

- john.lewis@odt.co.nz


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