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A Job Well Done for Rangiora Earthquake Express

HELI ANGELS TOUCH DOWN

A Job Well Done for Rangiora Earthquake Express

After six days of providing hot meals and vital supplies to some of the hardest hit and poorest suburbs of Christchurch, the Rangiora Earthquake Express (REE) - manned by volunteers - is now winding down its activities.

Official arrangements are now in place on the ground in Christchurch to meet the immediate needs of the people in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch.

The REE stepped in with deliveries of food and emergency supplies less than 48 hours after the February 22 ‘quake. The aim was to fill an urgent need at the time when the eastern suburbs were isolated from the main emergency services and people were marooned in their homes and shelters.

Since its establishment the REE has:

• Delivered 45 tonnes of hot food and emergency supplies in 150 helicopter flights directly to the streets of the Eastern suburbs over the first four days.

• Over six days delivered more than 200 tonnes of food and essential items in countless road trains comprising volunteers in 4WD cars and vehicles towing trailers.

• Facilitated the delivery of more than 20 tonnes of food and essential items from the North Island and northern parts of the South Island.

As well as this, there are still more than 11 trucks, and two shipping containers, facilitated by the REE, that are still in transit to the distribution centre for the eastern suburbs.

Over the six days of its operation the REE was manned by around 1,000 volunteers, who came from as far afield as Auckland City.

REE organizers Brendan Malone and Jayne Rattray say they have been truly humbled by the generosity and passion of the people from all over New Zealand who have given so much to the group.

“This was truly a grassroots operation in the best traditions of the Kiwi spirit, which fed, watered and supplied thousands and thousands of people for six days. And it did so with astounding efficiency and professionalism,” say Brendan Malone and Jayne Rattray.

Many have contributed, but the REE especially wished to thank the Rangiora McDonald’s, as well as the many other local, national and international companies who supported this operation Special mention must also be made of the city of Palmerston North, which threw its full support behind the supply needs of the REE.

Snr Sgt Roy Appley from New Brighton police says the REE has done an “absolutely fantastic” job.

“In those first dark days people just couldn’t move around the community. Using choppers the team provided hot meals for the needy and what seemed like a never-ending supply of emergency supplies.

“Maybe their acts of generosity will rub off on the whole community because people respond to such kindness. In 25 years of policing I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Local MP Clayton Cosgrove donated his electorate 4WD to help with the road train and he says he was in awe of what Jayne and the team had done.

“My driver knows Christchurch like the back of his hand so we led the convoy five or six times and I sat with Jayne on a trip. Those people certainly demonstrated huge community spirit – they collectively fed the New Brighton and eastern suburbs for five days after the earthquake.”

ENDS

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