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Community rallying in response to COVID-19

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From Wairoa to Central Hawke’s Bay, community agencies and organisations across the region are supporting those most in need as the national COVID-19 lockdown continues. 

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HBCDEM) Manager Ian Macdonald said the group was working with these networks to reach out to people, as well as taking calls through the 0800 number. 

HBCDEM was instrumental in the early stages of response to get the networks up and running and supported. 

The organisations involved include those working with migrant communities, children, older persons, visitors, rural communities, disability networks, the homeless, and others. 

HBCDEM is also working closely with iwi around their amazing Tihei Mauri Ora response. 

As of Saturday, 11 April HBCDEM’s 0800 welfare line had been in contact with 590 residents from all walks of life and across the region from Mahia to Takapau. 

The team of 10 needs assessors had responded to more than 200 requests for food support and connected people seeking anything from emergency accommodation (including for pets), to financial assistance and clothing. 

“It’s all about making sure the right help is getting to the right people,” Mr Macdonald said. 

“We’re connecting all the dots between agencies and ourselves to ensure no-one falls through the gaps.” 

The HBCDEM team, including local councils, had talked to a range of people from those aged over 70 years and restricted to staying in their bubble, to sole parents finding it hard to get to the supermarket, Mr Macdonald said. 

“There are a variety of needs and our assessors are trained to understand what the issues are and point them in the right direction to either get the help themselves or tap into the support that’s on hand.” 

Mr Macdonald said he was heartened to see how everyone in Hawke’s Bay had rallied to help each other.  

“There are many unsung heroes, from those checking in on their neighbours, friends and family members, to people dropping off supplies to others who can’t leave their homes, to everyone who has shown kindness and empathy as we all get through this together.  

“We’ve all made sacrifices by following the rules: by staying home, by forgoing our Easter holidays, and by making drastic changes to our lifestyles for these few weeks.  

“Thank you to each and every person who has been there for our community.” 

For urgent support, call 0800 HBAYCD (0800 422 923). 

For more information on COVID-19, visit https://covid19.govt.nz/

13 April 2020

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