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Twenty five Red Cross volunteers from five teams all around New Zealand are currently stationed in Havelock North, assisting with community outreach activities. Their first task was going door to door, checking up on families particularly in more vulnerable areas. Over 300 properties have been visited and teams are stepping up their outreach efforts to get to more people. Disaster welfare and support teams from four other regions are on standby to help.
As well as door-knocking, volunteers have been calling people in the community who are most at risk of being sick, including those who are elderly and live alone. Some items have also been distributed including infant nappies, toilet paper and bottled water.
People visited by Red Cross volunteers are grateful for their support. Volunteers are trained in psychosocial first aid, and have been helping sick people and their families deal with the emotional impacts and uncertainties of being ill. Students at three high schools are among those affected, with support given to students and school staff.
Havelock North resident Michelle received a visit yesterday. "The volunteers gave me information but also the feeling of comfort knowing people are out there, as I'm one of the unlucky ones to have the bug," she says.
An information hub has been set up in Havelock North township for residents seeking information. Look out for the Red Cross air shelter. Hastings District Council has set up an information phoneline, welfare staff can be contacted on 871 5000.
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Disasters and emergencies can strike anytime, anywhere, including in our own backyards. Donate to help communities in New Zealand affected by disasters, and the volunteers who are there for them.