Thanks a lot, it was a remarkable effort.

Palmerston North's Emergency Operation Centre controller Chris Dyhrberg says thank you to everyone who stepped up to help during the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said since March 25 more than 100 council staff were shifted from their usual roles to assist for various periods at the EOC and now it has wound down to a monitoring role.

Dyhrberg said more than 20,000 people sought welfare help during the lockdown.


"Primarily our key function during activation was delivering welfare support to those in the city.

"We've calculated the level of assistance carried out over the last 10 weeks, and it has been a remarkable effort."

More than 5500 requests were received for assistance at the EOC.

"Every one of these requests was called back from one of our team to assess their needs and then put into action to meet those needs.

"We trained a group of our library staff in this process, and they have done some great work."

Data collected from the assistance requests indicate more than 20,000 people needed support.

The support was given mainly through food parcels, essential household goods, pharmacy supplies and accommodation.

The cost of buying the items needed during this time exceeded $1.1 million and claims for reimbursement of these costs are being made to the National Emergency Management Office that received government funding for welfare needs.


"These numbers created a huge logistics challenge, as we had to arrange the purchase, supply, transport and delivery of thousands of food parcels at a time when we all faced tight restrictions," Dyhrberg said.

"We could only do this with the amazing support of our social support agencies, such as the Palmerston North Food Collective, which was a collaboration between the Salvation Army, Methodist Social Support and Just Zilch.

"Their volunteers sorted, packed and delivered to homes."

The Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance also had council staff assist them with their welfare support managed out of the Central Energy Trust Arena.

"Our contact centre is still managing calls through to the 0800 number for a short period, but most of these calls will be directed to other agencies.

"Council's emergency management staff will temporarily manage complex cases and accommodation support assistance during a short transition period."

As well as managing the welfare needs of the city, the EOC's first key role was to ensure delivery of essential services to the city and people were kept safe.

This required increased cleaning of public toilets, the collection of kerbside rubbish and recycling, and keeping all other infrastructure services operational.

More than 800 signs and public notices were printed and installed around public spaces in the city, and the public information team were kept busy sharing national and local information throughout the period.

"The Covid-19 response was lengthy and required many council staff to work away from their usual roles.

"It has been amazing how our staff have responded to undertake work during the lockdown and stepped into whatever work was needed."

A smaller team has been working full-time for the past couple of weeks, and on Tuesday they all return to their regular positions.

The council's emergency management team will manage the EOC's monitoring role.

Mayor Grant Smith and chief executive Heather Shotter met last week with representatives from the support agencies that worked closely with the EOC team throughout the activation and thanked them for their work and collaborative approach during the Palmerston North response.