Emergency Management Otago
30 June 2020
Otago Civil Defence standing down from welfare support
As Otago begins to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management (Otago CDEM) is completing its transition out of providing welfare support.
“The past few months have been challenging for everyone as together we have acted to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Otago CDEM’s Acting Director Michele Poole.
“The situation in Otago has moved from one of emergency to recovery so it is time for the provision of welfare to transfer to a more sustainable support system.”
Otago CDEM has partnered with councils, community groups and volunteers to provide food, household goods and services, and accommodation support to thousands of people across the region.
Since Level 4 lock down began in March, Otago CDEM has had over 25,000 requests for help with essentials such as groceries and accommodation costs. Over 7,500 people have been provided with assistance, many of these foreign nationals in the Queenstown Lakes District whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19.
From tomorrow, 1 July, support for overseas citizens affected by COVID-19 will be provided by the Department of Internal Affairs in partnership with the Red Cross through the Visitor Care Manaaki Manuhiri project. New Zealanders and permanent residents will continue to access help from Work and Income NZ. Anyone needing immediate help with food due to the impacts of COVID-19 can contact a foodbank. A list of foodbanks available in Otago is available at www.foodbank.co.nz/otago
People in New Zealand who are on temporary visas may be eligible for this support if they meet the criteria detailed by the Department of Internal Affairs:
People can apply online at foreignnationals.services.govt.nz or freephone 0800 RED CROSS (733 276).
Ms Poole acknowledged the community contribution throughout the response.
“The work of civil defence relies on working collaboratively with organisations and individuals across the region. We would like to thank all of those who have supported our response and, in particular, Volunteering Central and the many volunteers who have worked tirelessly to support the welfare response in the Queenstown Lakes District.”