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Emergency Volunteers in Action for National Volunteer Week

Media Release

Volunteering New Zealand

21 June 2013

Emergency Volunteers in Action for National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is drawing to a close, but volunteers in the emergency management areas across the country burst into action last night.

“There has been an overwhelming response and superb effort from our emergency management volunteers,” says Councillor Paul Eagle from Wellington City Council (WCC), and board member of Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ).

 “Paekakariki Hill Road was a nightmare,” says James Donald from the Porirua Emergency Response and Pukerua Community Response Volunteer.

“It was hairy, the wind was pretty wild, it was just chaos. Trees all over the place, power lines down, flooding.”

“We had a quick break for coffee and donuts then back out in it.”

WCC’s customer contact centre, received more than 400 calls for assistance overnight.  The New Zealand Fire Service took over 900 emergency calls last night, mainly for storm related damage.

Across New Zealand there are close to 8,000 volunteer fire-fighters.

Emergency management volunteers have been trained in Wellington since April 2010. Statistics from Wellington City Council show in April 2012 nearly 300 emergency volunteers had received training.

Chief Executive of VNZ Vanisa Dhiru says, “Our nation survives on volunteers across a variety of services in various industries and so many people are there to help – especially in emergencies.  Thank you volunteers for looking after our people and communities in times of need, such as these past 24 hours during New Zealand’s bad weather.”

Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of New Zealand organisations that have a commitment to volunteering, such as volunteer centres, national and other organisations.  Their mission is to promote, support and advocate for volunteering.  www.volunteeringnz.org.nz

ENDS

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