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Generous-hearted Southlanders are being urged to give money to the official earthquake appeal rather than give goods.
Emergency Management Southland has issued a plea to those organising local appeals, trying to forestall the collection of blankets, clothes, children’s toys and the like.
“People have the best of intentions – they really want to do something practical to help Christchurch – but we know from past experience that collecting up second hand goods only causes problems and it doesn’t get to the people who are in need of help,” Emergency Management Advisor Craig Sinclair said.
He had already been in touch with one Gore company which had been collecting goods for Christchurch, but there were others, including Menzies College, that he had not been able to reach in time to stop their appeal.
“There is nowhere to store these items in Christchurch, there is no way of checking where the bedding, clothes and what-have-you have come from and usually it all ends up being dumped, which is a terrible waste.”
The Red Cross and international aid agencies were providing resources for the relief effort, and would not be able to use the unsolicited donations.
“The best way to help at the moment is to give money to one of the official appeals,” Mr Sinclair said.
Ever since the earthquake, Emergency Management Southland staff have been fielding calls from people offering their help, ranging from companies with heavy machinery to people offering accommodation to evacuated Christchurch residents.
Those sorts of offers were valuable because they could be matched with need, but collections of donated goods only caused headaches at a time when all efforts needed to be concentrated on rescue and recovery.