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Free Public Enquiry Service for Christchurch Quake Victims

0133 Free Public Enquiry Service for Christchurch Quake Victims to Continue

0133’s free non-emergency helpline for Christchurch residents resumed this morning after a two day trial last week received hundreds of calls.

0133 created the service after hearing calls to radio stations where callers were desperate for even the most basic information.

“We wanted to give people who have no online access a free number to call where they can ask for any information they need,” says 0133 co-founder Prentice Robb.

“If we can’t answer their questions straight away, we find out and phone back or text them with the answer as soon as possible,” said Robb.

“And every call to our helpline takes the pressure off emergency numbers that have been swamped by calls since the disaster occurred,” he said.

The number to call is 0800 96 0133 – and will be in operation until 10:00pm tonight and from 8:00am – 10:00pm Tuesday.

Last week, questions included roading and flight information, where to find drinking water, how to offer accommodation or labour assistance. Some callers simply sought contact phone numbers for utilities or details on the different services attempting to get Christchurch backup and running.

0133 was to launch its free telephone information service next month, but brought forward its operations to help with the Christchurch emergency.

“We were pleased to be able to use our phone systems, call-centre and technology to help the people of Christchurch,” said Robb.

On hearing of the initiative, Compass Communications, 0133’s key telecommunications supplier became involved to assist with the 0800 call costs.

Compass CEO Karim Hussona contacted the three major mobile networks Vodafone, Telecom and 2 Degrees, and between Compass and the mobile carriers they will be covering the costs of calls to the service.

Says Hussona, “Compass was delighted when 0133 presented the opportunity to help in this way, and similarly Vodafone, Telecom and 2 Degrees contributed without hesitation”.

The number to call is: 0800 96 0133. The line is for non-emergency information only.
Callers who are clearly distressed will be directed to call 111.

The helpline is available from 8:00am until 10:00pm Monday and Tuesday.


Among the calls our operators have received, here are a few examples of different
queries we have received and ways our operators have provided information.

1." How can I offer accomodation?"

A woman from Wellington with a large house with several beds and disability facilities available, wanted to know where she could register that information or who to call and inform.

Our operator filled out an accomodation form on her behalf at the QuakeEscape.org website.

2. "Where can I get food and water from?"

A young man phoning from Barbados St in the CBD did not know where to find food and water.

Our operator located where he was and directed him to Ladamous Square, five minutes walk from his house where there were supplies.

3." What roads are blocked? "

A man leaving Christchurch that went down to rescue his elderly father, wanted to map out which route to take to avoid blocked roads.

Our operator directed him to the list of blocked of roads at the Christchurch City Council. NB: We also have a list ready to read.

4. "Where can I donate 10,000 litres of water and five earth moving trucks to?"

A man from Central Otago wanting to know where to donate the above. Our operator took his details and phoned the council where they took the information to get in contact with him.

5. "How can I get my business server out of a building that is in an area cordoned off?”

A director of a company wanted to know how he could retrieve his company server.

The operator that answered the call whom is also an IT specialist suggested contacting EQC after at least a week as previously informed.
Also suggested the caller speak with police at the scene of the building, to confirm whether the building was safe to enter as the building was structurally intact.

6. "How can I get the Voluteer Army to clear my drive way?"

A man that last year had heart surgery, is blocked in his house by a mud filled driveway.

Our operator phoned the Student Army Services and registered his request.

7. "We're three guys in a truck driving around and want to help - where do we go?"

Our operator phoned the Student Army Services which recommended they phone early in the morning and check facebook for updates.

The caller was then given the 0800 Red Cross Volunteer line to contact.

© Scoop Media

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