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New Zealand Red Cross opens emergency call centre

http://www.redcross.org.nz/

8am, 8 July 2005

New Zealand Red Cross opens emergency call centre

About 20 volunteers are manning the New Zealand Red Cross emergency call centre this morning taking calls from New Zealanders concerned for relatives and friends in London.

The call centre opened at 7am to assist the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which took several hundred inquiries overnight.

New Zealand Red Cross Director General Andrew Weeks says volunteers have been quick to offer assistance in the call centre.

"Many people who worked in the call centre during the tsunami have wanted to come back to provide the same kind of support to concerned family and friends. It really shows the power of humanity in New Zealand. We have even had a woman in Auckland offering to pay her own way to Wellington to help," Mr Weeks says.

The Red Cross emergency call centre has sixteen phone lines which have run hot since 7am. Red Cross volunteers are taking the details of New Zealanders believed to be in London who relatives have been unable contact. Details are being passed to Foreign Affairs which will match the information logged by concerned relatives in New Zealand with information coming in from overseas.

Meanwhile British Red Cross has deployed first aid volunteers and ambulances in response to the explosions across London. Following a request from the London Ambulance Service, the Red Cross deployed 25 ambulances to Euston, Russell Square St Pancras, Marylebone and Edgware Road.

ENDS

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