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Govt. agencies combine to assist in Bay of Plenty


For immediate release
July 19 2004

Government agencies combine to assist in Bay of Plenty

The Government’s Flood Helpline is operating to assist people affected by the Bay of Plenty floods and earthquakes, Ministry of Social Development Deputy Chief Executive Ray Smith said today.

The free helpline 0800-779-997 was first established by the Ministry of Social Development in February to assist those affected by the Central North Island floods.

The Government Flood Helpline, co-ordinated by Work and Income, offers flood and earthquake victims information on what assistance they may be eligible for, and can refer callers to all Government agencies.

Those affected by the disaster may be eligible for emergency assistance, for example food, clothing or bedding payments, or for assistance with billeting or evacuee costs.
Agencies are also asking anyone with short-term accommodation available, for example a holiday home, motel, cabin or caravan to call the helpline.

Mr Smith, head of Work and Income, said Government agencies were meeting regularly to ensure that were was a co-ordinated response.

Bay of Plenty Regional Commissioner Carl Crafar said Work and Income’s service centres in the region had been open today, but some with reduced staffing levels because some staff had been affected by the flooding. Work and Income was encouraging people to phone the helpline.

“The immediate need for us is to get the joint helpline number out there so that people who have questions know where they can go,” he said.

Callers can phone the helpline free from their cell phones. Work and Income will also have flood assistance and other government agency information on its website www.workandincome.govt.nz from this evening.


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