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Auckland joins forces to help cyclone affected islands

News Release

21 December 2012

Auckland joins forces to help cyclone affected islands

The Mayor has announced the establishment of an Auckland Relief Committee in the wake of Cyclone Evan with a Mayoral Relief Fund to be set up to assist in the rebuild over the coming months.

The announcement came at the conclusion of a Mayoral Forum involving Pacific community and church leaders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT), Auckland Council staff including Civil Defence, and aid agencies to discuss the most appropriate support and assistance for the affected island nations.

“Auckland is the largest Pacific city in the world. Pacific Aucklanders have lost friends and family, and family and community property has been badly damaged. Auckland will do whatever it can to help as we identify the most effective way to assist,” says Len Brown.

“We must work together on a coordinated and integrated multi-agency response, overseen and led by MFAT, so we can clearly identify the needs of the affected islands so each agency and group can respond in a way that reflects their expertise and resources.”

“The advice to the forum was clear. Cash is king and that is the single best way Aucklanders can contribute to the immediate relief effort.

“Skilled people are needed to help with the relief and rebuild effort and volunteers are encouraged to come forward. MFAT will match offers with skills identified and requested by the Samoan government and aid agencies.”

“The donation of goods is problematic unless materials like non-perishable food and water have been specifically asked for.

“One of the ways Auckland Council may be able to help is by sending skilled infrastructure staff to assist with the rebuild, whereas church and community networks and aid agencies will assist families and communities to identify if material goods are needed, what is best and where it needs to go.”

Auckland Council Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel chair Reverend Uesifili Unasa says this was a very significant meeting for the Pacific communities in Auckland.

“Our Pacific people want to see a coordinated, cohesive and trustworthy process for the response to the affected islands. The Mayor’s leadership in bringing this group together alongside government and other agencies will deliver an effective response.”

An announcement will be made shortly on the make-up of the relief committee and how Aucklanders can donate to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

People interested in volunteering their skills should contact email publicoffers@mfat.govt.nz. MFAT will pass these offers on to Samoa to see if they can be linked to specific requests.

Ends

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