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Government agencies at BOP recovery centres

July 21 2004

Government agencies at Bay of Plenty recovery centres

Government agencies are combining with other organisations to co-ordinate flood relief and provide support at flood recovery centres at Edgecumbe and Whakatane.

Work and Income Regional Commissioner Carl Crafar said Government agencies were encouraging people to phone the Government Flood Helpline (0800-779-997 free from cell phones) to find out about assistance that is available or connect with other Government agencies, or go to the recovery centres.

“We are encouraging people to phone the helpline before coming into a recovery centre because a phone call may answer their questions or help give them the direction they need. At the same time we welcome people who would like to come in to talk directly with staff at the recovery centres,” he said.

Staff from several Government agencies were based at the recovery centres, at the Edgecumbe War Memorial Stadium and the Whakatane War Memorial Hall, he said.

Agencies represented include Housing New Zealand Corporation, Child Youth and Family, Te Puni Kokiri, Police and Work and Income. Information from Red Cross, Salvation Army, Victim Support, district councils and insurance is also available at the centres.

Mr Crafar said Work and Income centres remained open with reduced staff and it was bringing additional staff in from Tauranga and Rotorua to help with the recovery. “We are working hard to get our resources and systems in place as quickly as possible,” he said. Work and Income could help those affected by the floods and slips assess their eligibility for emergency assistance, for example, food, clothing or bedding payments, or for assistance with billeting or evacuee costs.

Agencies were also asking anyone with short-term accommodation available, for example a holiday home, motel, cabin or caravan to call the helpline, he said.

“We’re encouraging people to phone the helpline in the first instance if they have accommodation available, or to find out what types of assistance are available.” Mr Crafar said.

Work and Income also has flood assistance on its website www.workandincome.govt.nz.

ENDS

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