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Coordinated Approach Planned for Tsunami Aid

5 January 2004

Region-Wide Coordinated Approach Planned for Tsunami Aid

A coordinated and long-term approach toward helping the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami has been agreed to by a variety of agencies in Taranaki.

And the three Mayors of Taranaki are calling on the region’s residents to put their heads together to come up with innovative ways of raising money.

Today (WEDNESDAY), representatives of the Red Cross, churches, Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, Taranaki Multi-Ethnic Council, Rotary and local government met to discuss the best approach for supporting the tsunami victims.

“The approach we are all taking is to get behind the Red Cross and take advantage of their established links, so that all money raised will go where it is most needed throughout the devastated areas,” says Mayor Pete.

“We’re also in this for the long run. We’re talking about a 12-month effort: first addressing the most urgent needs of the survivors by raising as much money as possible and then, when those crises have eased, focusing on helping those communities rebuild during the following months.”

South Taranaki Mayor Mary Bourke says Taranaki’s greatest strengths are the innovation and passion of its residents. “That’s why Taranaki’s economy is thriving, and those characteristics are a key part of our 12-month fundraising plan for the survivors.

“We want people in Taranaki to think outside the square and come up with great ideas for fundraising, which we can all get behind. Let’s really ramp this up and make a big difference in the lives of people who are really hurting following the tsunami.

“I’m already aware of one group in South Taranaki that is planning a community event to gather funds, and I’m sure that other groups are getting together and coming up with their own fundraising ideas,” she says.

Says Stratford Mayor Brian Jeffares: “This tsunami has been the largest natural disaster that any of us will probably see in our lifetime. The community has been incredibly generous to date, and our plan is to have a coordinated approach to fundraising and support that will result in the most benefits for the survivors.

“I’ll be getting out among the Stratford community and tapping into the public spirit that’s here, and we’ll get a lot of fundraising efforts under way.”

Taranaki churches and service clubs will be providing volunteer support to the Red Cross, to enable it to push on with initiatives and to respond to the huge level of contact that it is receiving from members of the public.

The Taranaki Multi-Ethnic Council is planning events to fundraise for the entire tsunami-hit region, and the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce is starting to plan a relief programme for the long-term issues that the survivors will face.

“The chamber supports the Red Cross as the first and foremost collection point based on its long track record in responding to disasters,” says chamber chairman John Rae. “Some of our members are already responding to the disaster with their own initiatives, which is great to hear, and the chamber will be coordinating the businesses for a long-term effort.”

The Stratford District Council will be coordinating with groups in its community to get fundraising events off the ground, and the New Plymouth District Council has invited the Red Cross to run collections at its major community events, such as the TSB Bank Festival of Lights and the Beach Bash.

The Red Cross is running a street collection today and tomorrow in Waitara, New Plymouth and Inglewood. Karen Lawson, area mamager for New Zealand Red Cross, says all collectors will carry an official Red Cross identification badge and collection bag.

“Every dollar collected will make a difference – none of the money raised will be used on overheads and the funds will be spent where they are needed most,” says Ms Lawson. “With the huge support of the people in Taranaki we’ll be able to make a significant difference to the lives of those affected by the tsunami.”

Another meeting will be held next week of key people throughout the region to continue the coordination of the region-wide effort and to keep the fundraising momentum going, says Mayor Pete. The three Mayors of the region will also be in regular contact to aid the coordination of efforts throughout Taranaki.

ENDS

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