With thousands of Kaikoura residents still unable to access safe running water and relying on portaloos, water, sanitation and hygiene is a priority focus for Red Cross.

Although water supply has been restored to some of the town, sewerage infrastructure was heavily damaged in last Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and all tap water must still be boiled for three minutes or chlorinated before use. Households are still relying on portaloos or chemical toilets and are being advised to use water sparingly.

New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine says one of the ways Red Cross is now supporting the community is by providing practical water and sanitation support.

"People in Kaikoura are living in challenging circumstances and it’s very easy for disease to spread in these conditions. Lessons learnt after our work in disasters overseas and closer to home in Havelock North have shown us the importance of accessing clean water and knowing how to make a small amount go a really long way."

Red Cross water and sanitation engineer Yee Chen has spent the past three days working with the community and local agencies to minimise the threat of disease outbreaks in the face of limitations to the region’s water and sewerage networks.

“No water should go down the drains, as the underground pipes are badly damaged,” she explains. “We recommend saving your water from doing the dishes, showering and bathing, and tipping it into the garden.”

Yee has overseen the distribution of pallets of chlorine to Kaikoura’s surrounding rural properties to ensure dam water is fit for use, and helped set up hand washing and sanitation stations at Kaikoura Primary School.

Since Monday’s earthquake, New Zealand Red Cross has reached hundreds of people in the quake-affected regions with emergency aid, food, water, welfare checks and psychosocial support. More than 100 Red Cross field personnel have responded so far and 50 are currently on the ground assisting those affected.

How to help

People wanting to help can donate to Red Cross’ November Earthquake 2016 appeal. 100% of donations made will go to help people affected by the disaster – Red Cross takes no administration costs from the appeal.

  • Donate online 
  • Text REDCROSS to 3181 to make an instant $3 donation.
  • Donate at your local Red Cross or Red Cross Shop
  • By post to: New Zealand Red Cross – Supporter Services, PO Box 12140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144
  • Call 0800 RED CROSS