Ongoing voluntary efforts from members of the community will be an essential part of the long-term recovery in Canterbury following last Saturday’s earthquake, says Canterbury Civil Defence Controller Jon Mitchell.
“Thousands of students and many other members of the community have put in a great effort so far helping in a range of ways following the earthquake,” said Mr Mitchell.
“We are now moving from the initial response stage of dealing with the quake’s effects to the recovery phase.
“While local authorities, central Government and its agencies, and emergency services will continue to put in a huge co-ordinated effort, we will also need members of the community to continue to pitch in and help each other when required.
“It is important that we as a regional community continue to support each other through the long-term process of recovering from this event.”
Some examples of the community efforts so far include:
Offers of help received from all over New Zealand and even from as far away as the United Kingdom. People have offered food, machinery, labour, accommodation, and even emotional support for people at home or in welfare centres.
“While this is fantastic, we’d prefer that people sent financial assistance rather than stuff. Donated goods create more work for local organisations who are already busy meeting local needs. Normal retail services are available in Canterbury and an influx of donated goods can actually undermine the local economy which is trying to get back on its feet,” Mr Mitchell said.
Volunteer fire-fighters and other similar local groups have been well organised and done excellent work for tasks like dismantling chimneys and staffing welfare centres.
“Different Councils have different needs for help, so people considering donating their time or resources should make contact with their local Council to see how they can best help.
“Tradespeople should make contact with their trade associations who are liaising with affected Canterbury Councils.
Mr Mitchell urged Cantabrians to keep looking out for their neighbours and to come forward and help as required.
“Besides the formal channels for offering assistance, people can always grab wheelbarrow and a shovel and go and see what they can do to help their neighbours and others in their community,” Mr Mitchell said.