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New Zealand Red Cross On Standby For Olympics

New Zealand Red Cross On Standby For Olympics

As thousands of athletes, spectators and administrators converge on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, New Zealand Red Cross will be on standby with their National Inquiry Centre.

The National Inquiry Centre (NIC) will be set up at Red Cross Headquarters in Wellington tomorrow. Operated by New Zealand Red Cross staff and volunteers, it has the capability to operate 24 hours a day, seven day a week, for as long as it is required.

It would only be activated if a significant incident occurs. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the NIC would receive and register phone enquiries from those seeking to locate family, friends and loved ones they think may have been involved in the situation.

Andrew McKie, New Zealand Red Cross’ Operations Manager says the NIC will be set up and tested tomorrow as a precautionary step, to ensure it is fully functional should the need arise.

“For New Zealand Red Cross it is a case of ‘be prepared’. We need to ensure our equipment is set up and tested, our pool of volunteers has been contacted, and we’ve got our procedures in place. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ask us to activate the call centre, we can have it operational within an hour,’ says Mr McKie.

The NIC, established eight years ago, has been activated on two previous occasions, during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami when 18,000 calls were logged, and again in 2005 following the London bombings.

New Zealand Red Cross maintains the NIC on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the New Zealand Police. It can be activated to respond to both international and national incidents.


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