Door-to-door knocking saw volunteers visit more than 400 homes yesterday, checking that people were coping with the nasty gastric illness that had struck Havelock North in Hastings.

Volunteers were mobilised by Hawke's Bay Emergency Management this morning, tasked with checking that people knew that they needed to boil water, or could get to tankers deployed throughout the village to collect free drinking water.

Red Cross and Civil Defence volunteers reported that while the illness was widespread, it seemed the vast majority of people were coping.

A small supply of sanitary products, things like nappies, had been distributed.


The house-to-house visits had resumed today, continuing to target areas with high concentrations of elderly and families.

The welfare line phone number set up by Council received six calls yesterday, with three callers referred to external welfare agencies.

The range of agencies involved in the emergency response is extensive, including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development, the Hawke's Bay District Health Board, Hastings District Council and the Red Cross. The Inland Revenue Department has offered staff to help man telephones.

"These welfare checks . . . should help ensure that any people who are particularly vulnerable can be helped if need be," said Hastings District Council facilities and programmes general manager and welfare controller Alison Banks.