Pike River mine disaster

One of New Zealand's worst mining disasters occured on 19 November 2010 at Pike River mine, killing 29 men. An explosion occured in the mine during the day when 31 men were on duty. Only two men walked out of the mine after the explosion.

There was a second explosion on 24 November 2010. After this it was determined that the probability of survivors was slim.

After the first explosion, Red Cross teams set up a welfare centre in Greymouth, as well as a catering caravan at the Pike River mine site. The caravan served meals, snacks and drinks to the constantly revolving teams of emergency personnel.

Trained, skilled Red Cross volunteers from West Coast towns Greymouth and Hokitika were assisted by colleagues from Christchurch and Marlborough to care for people affected by the incident.

The welfare centre was a meeting place for families and the first point of contact for people to register as they came into town to try to find out information on loved ones. Red Cross volunteers were on hand day and night to offer meals, a place to stay and referrals to other appropriate agencies.