With the country in lock down, many minds are turning to the elderly and vulnerable who may be without assistance at this time.
31 March 2020
“First and foremost, the best thing everyone can do to help one another is follow the Ministry of Health advice on staying healthy and staying in your bubble,” said CDEM Group Controller Richard Saunders.
“Once you are sure you have your own health in hand, call or text friends, whānau and neighbors to see if anyone in your local networks needs support but make sure you follow the health guidance.”
That guidance is to:
For those who can provide additional support, Mr Saunders asks them to register their availability with Volunteering Otago and Volunteering Central (for Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes District), the organisations coordinating volunteer efforts on behalf of CDEM Otago.
“It’s critical that our volunteering efforts are coordinated and carried out safely if we are to maintain the requirements around physical distancing. Volunteering Otago and Volunteering Central are the experts when it comes to coordinating volunteers and we are asking anyone who wants to assist the civil defence response to register with them first.
“Our emergency operations centres in each of the districts have been working with them to provide volunteers to those in need and give them the appropriate guidance to protect them and those they are working with.”
Mr Saunders said that each of the local councils were receiving requests for welfare support from their communities and continuing to provide this was a priority for CDEM Otago.
“We know there are vulnerable people in our community who are without support at this time. We are working closely with the Ministry of Social Development, local councils, NGOs and welfare agencies across the region to identify these people and connect them with the support they require."
“A regional COVID-19 help centre has been set up in Otago and will operate 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week to receive requests for welfare assistance.”
Mr Saunders said anyone requiring welfare support at this time should in the first instance email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 322 4000 for more information on how to get support.
Mr Saunders acknowledged the Dunedin City Council, who had offered to staff the call centre on behalf of the region.
“Dunedin City Council has put their hands up to manage the call centre for the region. Requests will then be passed on to the civil defence teams in each of the district or city councils, who will respond to the welfare needs identified.”
Public Information Team
027 605 2113 or Michele Poole 027 839 8306