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NZ GOVT: Help available to Christchurch people

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development, Employment & Youth Affairs
23 February 2011

Help available to Christchurch people

Assistance for Cantabrians is available now and all possible help will be offered to those in need says Social Development Minister.

“The situation is changing, but currently there are two welfare centres which are operating, at Hagley Park and at Burnside High School,” says Ms Bennett.

“More welfare centres will open as soon as buildings are declared safe to use,” says Ms Bennett.

“The advice is to stay at home if people can and to check on their neighbours and if they need any help or advice, call the Government helpline,” says Ms Bennett.

The 0800 779997 helpline will operate 24 hours, providing information, advice and transferring calls through to other appropriate agencies.

That helpline has so far taken more than 2000 calls

“Food and water is being delivered to the welfare centres and people will be cared for there as we deal with immediate need,” says Ms Bennett.

“Financial assistance will also be made available to those who need it, we have the ability to provide Civil Defence emergency payments and other assistance is available,” says Ms Bennett.

People should call the Government helpline to discuss the assistance they need.

Three Work and Income centres are open, in Ashburton, Hornby and Rangiora today for emergencies only, but people are advised not to travel through the city if they can avoid it and call the Helpline instead.

“We’ve had many generous offers to donate of food and blankets, which are much appreciated but right now we’d ask people not to travel into the city to make donations, call the Helpline instead and they will co-ordinate those donations, says Ms Bennett.

ENDS


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