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Civil Defence Minister visiting Gisborne today

Hon Rick Barker
Minister of Civil Defence


21 December 2007
Media Statement

Civil Defence Minister visiting Gisborne today

Civil Defence Minister, Rick Barker is visiting Gisborne today to see first hand the extent of the damage caused by last night’s earthquake.

“My visit will allow me to get a better understanding of the situation on the ground. The main priority for the region now is assessing the damage across the region and ensuring that buildings in the Gisborne CBD area are safe,” Mr Barker said.

“The response to the earthquake is being well managed by the emergency services and the Gisborne District Council, and the Council’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated. The Beehive’s National Crisis Management Centre has also been activated and is monitoring the situation, in order to provide assistance as required.

In the coming days and weeks, assessments will need to be undertaken in Gisborne and the wider affected areas, as to the extent of the damage to infrastructure and public services in order that Government can consider the contribution it needs to make. At the moment welfare is the priority.

A range of Government assistance will be provided, particularly to address welfare issues and a Government Helpline (0800 779 997) has been activated for those needing assistance.

"An emergency is the last thing most people are thinking about at Christmas but as this earthquake in Gisborne has shown, it is important to remember that a disaster or emergency can occur any time. Many families in Gisborne will be spending their Christmas break cleaning up following the earthquake, showing that disasters don’t take holidays.

“This earthquake is a timely reminder for people to take the necessary steps to be prepared, even when on holiday. New Zealand is prone to extreme natural events and people need to be prepared by having food, water, back up power, radios and material to keep sheltered and warm, keeping their insurance up to date and having a household emergency plan in place,” Mr Barker said.

Accompanying Rick Barker is local list MP Moana Mackey.

ENDS

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