More than a fortnight after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand, thousands of people remain cut off and in need of basic supplies

New Zealand Red Cross has been on the ground in the worst-affected areas since the earthquake hit on 14 November. Two people died, 58 were injured, 41 homes and buildings were destroyed, and road, rail, water and sewerage networks have been massively destroyed.

More than 140 Red Cross personnel have been in the worst affected areas since the quake, running community centres, going door to door, and distributing food, water and other essential supplies. They’ve visited more than 1000 households and more than 570 people have dropped into the temporary Red Cross centre in Kaikoura for supplies and vital information. 

Many people remain in makeshift or overcrowded housing without reliable drinkable water and fresh food.

“The need is great, but we’re encountering tremendous resilience among the people we’re supporting,” says New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine.

“We’re focusing our efforts right now on the seaside town of Kaikoura, which has been cut off by road since the quake. The recovery will take a long time, due to the nature of the disaster. Businesses are closed, many jobs have gone and tourism has been hit hard.”

Red Cross has been working alongside organisations including the local marae. Acting Chairperson of Te Runanga o Kaikoura, Henare Manawatu, says he appreciates the support from Red Cross.

“We had the Red Cross based up here on the marae for the entire first five days. Just having the Red Cross presence on the marae was invaluable. Red Cross - you were able to be identified straight away and people knew they could talk to you. Red Cross is known all over the world so even the tourists here knew who you were. And it relaxed people knowing you were here. We thank you for that.” He says he’s also pleased Red Cross was able to help in sourcing food and water.

Red Cross is running an appeal, with all donations to go towards the response and recovery efforts in communities affected by the quakes. The appeal has currently raised $1.8 million. Donations to Red Cross November 2016 Earthquake Appeal can be made at https://www.redcross.org.nz/donate/november-2016-earthquake-appeal/