Tourists are evacuated with military helicopters from the New Zealand

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Ngāi Tahu in Kaikoura is providing shelter and food (crayfish!) to hundreds of stranded tourists and residents.  As many as 200 people will be airlifted because landslides blocked the highway on both sides. Helicopter crews from across the South Island are working overtime, with extra flights being put on by many companies. The aircraft include four Air Force NH90 and A109 helicopters. A Hercules and an Orion are also helping with the rescue effort. Prime Minister John Key has estimated the bill from this latest disaster could be a “couple of billion” dollars and may impact the tourism industry, New Zealand’s largest source of foreign-exchange earnings. Economists also said there’s a risk that international coverage of the quake and its aftermath could deter tourists, though the impact is likely to be limited. Work to repair infrastructure damaged by the quake will be hard.

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