Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management has launched a new 0800 number helping Bay of Plenty households meet essential needs during the national rāhui period.

The number is 0800 884 222 and the call centre will be open from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week, the group announced today in a media release.

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Controller, Clinton Naude, said the phone number was to make sure that no households "fell through the cracks" during the national lockdown.

"There are many services provided nationally and locally and people are making extensive use of these already - Healthline, Lifeline, mental health support, local phone numbers for essential services, business support and so on. This phone number is not a replacement for these resources," Naude said in the statement.

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The group's aim in was to ensure household basic needs continued to be met during the national lockdown.

"We are particularly concerned about people living alone, perhaps in isolated locations or without internet and smartphones. There may be people who are not mobile and have lost their usual support services at this time and are worried about groceries, diesel for their generator, collecting prescription medicines and so on.

"We have seen some extraordinary community cohesiveness in recent days and I hope it continues. That sense of community is certainly filling some gaps and neighbours are looking out for neighbours, iwi authorities are making sure their Kaumātua and vulnerable are looked after, service groups are in touch with their members, volunteer groups are working hard remotely and essential services continue. I encourage everyone to use these vital networks where possible. This 0800 number is one more safety net to make sure no one is left isolated without necessities at this time," Naude said.

The call centre would carry out a needs assessment for each household's basic needs - food, groceries, heating or other household goods and services. The centre would also be able to provide advice to callers about other government support agencies when appropriate or they may be able to assist directly.

- Supplied copy