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4000 calls to Red Cross South Asia Tsunami centre

4000 calls to Red Cross South Asia Tsunami inquiry centre

The number of calls to the New Zealand Red Cross South Asia tsunami call centre topped 4000 just after midday today.

The call centre has averaged well over 1000 calls a day since it went live at 4pm on Tuesday, December 28.

Calls remained high today however many of the callers were phoning about people previously reported missing, who have since made contact with family or friends, Red Cross Operations Manager Andrew McKie said.

“About 50 per cent of the calls we are receiving are now to report that people have been found. These calls have been buoying for call centre volunteers and are very important in assisting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to identify who is still unaccounted for,” Mr McKie said.

The call centre has also taken many offers of help. “New Zealanders always show overwhelming generosity at times such and this and people have offered a huge range of services and relief items, however the best way for members of the public to help is by cash donations,” Mr McKie said.

“We deeply appreciate the generosity of the many groups and individuals who would like to send medicines, goods and clothing but we know from experience that it is difficult to get contributions of this kind to the people most in need. The high cost of packing, labelling and freighting goods consumes funds which can be better spent in the affected areas.” Mr McKie said the generosity shown through cash donations had been phenomenal, with about $350,000 donated so far to the New Zealand Red Cross South Asia Tsunami Appeal.

“One of the most touching donations today was from a Wellington teenager who came in with all of her Christmas money which she said the people in South Asia needed more than she did. We have seen many examples like this over the last couple of days,” Mr McKie said.

All money donated will go to providing relief following the earthquakes and tsunami in South Asia, as the Red Cross takes no money from special appeals for administration costs. A 70 cent Telecom charge on each 0900 donation is covered from other Red Cross funds derived from trading activities such as Red Cross shops, so that every cent people donate to South Asia will go to South Asia.

$20 donations can be made by phoning 0900 31 100. Donations can also be made at www.redcross.org.nz, or at branches of the ASB, BNZ, Westpac, TSB, ANZ and National Banks and at all Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown supermarkets.

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