Red Cross helping hundreds of quake-hit Kiwis

The New Zealand Red Cross has helped hundreds of quake-hit Kiwis with emergency aid and support, as donations to the charity soar to $850,000.

Fifty Red Cross personnel are still operating in the areas worst affected by Monday's 7.8 magnitude quake, running community centres, going door to door, and distributing water and other essential supplies.

The organisation's disaster welfare support team volunteers have conducted welfare checks at approximately 300 houses in Kaikoura and distributed 500 food parcels.

In Marlborough, volunteers have visited 174 houses, and are setting up three drop-in centres in Blenheim, Ward and Seddon.

At a rural community centre at Kaikoura Suburban School, about ten minutes north of the township, Red Cross has set up an emergency air shelter tent, and will provide the centre with water, food and other essentials, as well as daily information updates, to support the rural community. 

Kaikoura Suburban School principal Hayden van Lent, who is helping operate the centre, said it will be reassuring for the local community to have support close to home.

"Farmers are quite resilient but when you get talking to them and get past the first layer, then I think some of them are feeling the impact.

"With this centre, we can say to them, 'save your fuel, come here, get what you need'."

Red Cross Kaikoura branch president Lorraine Diver, who has been helping pack food parcels, said food was just one part of the emergency response and offering emotional support was just as important.

"I met one woman and her three young children whose house was damaged, and eventually red-stickered, following an aftershock.

"She went from having a home to being homeless. I brought her into Red Cross and all of a sudden, she had hope and she realised she wasn't alone."

The New Zealand Red Cross November 2016 earthquake appeal has so far raised $850,000.

Donations from Kiwis via a text message system, which is being run by Vodafone, have soared to more than $73,000.

To donate go to https://www.redcross.org.nz/donate/november-2016-earthquake-appeal/ or make an instant $3 donation by texting RED CROSS to 3181.

- NZ Herald

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