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The Disaster Welfare and Support Team members are running welfare centres in conjunction with local councils in Ward (Marlborough) and Kaikoura, where a total of 120 people sheltered last night.
Blenheim Disaster Welfare and Support Team member Tony Fenemor said he’s seen a lot of traumatised people.
“People were saying the night of the quake they were wondering when it was going to end. They want to know when the power’s coming back on, it’ll be a wee while yet. We’re seeing houses without power and water and trying to help those people. But the main thing is we are making contact with people and letting them know they’re not on their own.”
Mr Fenemor said teams are distributing water and tarpaulins, and have gone door to door in the small rural communities of Seddon and Ward, where there was a damaging earthquake just three years ago.
“There is a lot of damage to roading and this is a rural area so getting to a lot of the farms affected has been a bit of a task. At least the weather has improved today and we are out there doing the best we can.”
On the ground in Kaikoura and Christchurch
In Kaikoura, Red Cross volunteers are also running a welfare centre and going door to door, checking on those worst affected. The team used defence force helicopters to bring in emergency generators, satellite communications, an inflatable Air Shelter welfare tent and lighting kit, as well as water bladders and tap stands. Water is running out in the town and once the local council has sourced safe drinking water, it will use Red Cross equipment to store and distribute the water.
In Christchurch, Red Cross is supporting a council welfare centre in Woodend and has deployed one of its Disaster Welfare and Support trucks which are capable of providing shelter and food for up to 150 people.
Experienced volunteers deployed and on stand-by
New Zealand Red Cross International and National Disaster Management Officer Andrew McKie says New Zealand Red Cross has strong relationships with partners including the Government, defence force and local councils, which has enabled the response to run smoothly.
“We have built these relationships during disasters in the Pacific, and during the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. While we had hoped we wouldn’t have to do this again, we are well prepared and experienced in responding to big quakes,” he said.
So far disaster welfare team volunteers have been deployed from Kapiti-Wellington, Blenheim, Nelson, Christchurch, Tauranga and Dunedin. Teams will be rotated and others are on standby and ready to deploy as needed.
In Wellington the situation is being compounded by heavy rain and flooding and gale force winds, and cordons are still up around much of the CBD. Red Cross teams are on standby to provide welfare services to anyone affected by the floods.
People wanting to help can donate to Red Cross’ November Earthquake 2016 appeal, which will support the emergency response and help affected communities recover.
Need to get in touch with a loved one?
If you are visiting New Zealand, please continue to follow instructions of Civil Defence authorities in your region and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) website at http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/
Please contact your relatives back home to let them know you are safe and well.People in New Zealand concerned with the welfare of loved ones in affected areas
If you live in New Zealand and have not heard from loved ones in affected areas we encourage you to continue to try to contact them via text messages and social media and family and friend networks. We understand there is limited power and cell coverage in Kaikoura but a telecommunications provider is working on fixing this and it is anticipated it could be restored today.For people overseas concerned for loved ones in New Zealand
If you have concerns about family visiting or living in New Zealand, please try and contact them directly using their mobile phones (text messages work better in terms of coverage), email, social media, family and friend networks, and other last known contact details (e.g. accommodation).
You can also approach your Restoring Family Links team at your local Red Cross National Society.