Havelock North pensioner Frances New says the gastro bug that's afflicted many in the village was the worst she's ever experienced.

The 86-year-old, who lives in a unit in the suburb's CBD, said she was close to pushing her remote medic alarm when she was first struck down by the illness on Friday.

After dinner and an early night, she woke a few hours later and thought she was "going to die".

"Never in my life have I had anything like it," she told Hawke's Bay Today.

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Mrs New said she was recovering but was still "far from 100 percent".

Hastings District Council announced a welfare line to provide emergency assistance to the community.

People who require urgent welfare support should call the council on 871 5000 and ask for the welfare line.

For medical problems that require non-urgent attention people should phone the Healthline (0800 611 116) or a GP. For urgent health assistance phone 111.

Red Cross and Civil Defence officers in conjunction with other agencies will be door-knocking in the community today to check on residents and provide support where needed.