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Welfare Helpline set up for Hawke’s Bay Cyclone Assistance

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A free-call helpline has been set up for people in the Hawke’s Bay Region to access the welfare services they need in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management has set up the service, which went live at 3pm today.

The number is 0800 117 672. It will operate every day, from 8am – 8pm on weekdays and from 8am to 4.15pm at weekends. It is specifically for welfare needs such as health and wellbeing including mental health, accommodation needs, ongoing food, household goods and services support, animal welfare and rural support.

Group Controller Ian Macdonald said that in the two weeks since the cyclone hit, civil defence had focused on delivering immediate relief to those who needed it, airlifting essential supplies to isolated areas and providing emergency shelter to communities.

The supply drops were continuing alongside continuing efforts to restore road links and restore power and communications. But civil defence now had capacity to take a more individualised approach to people and their whanau, and the 0800 would achieve that

Calls will be answered on behalf of Hawkes Bay Emergency Management by Whakarongorau Aotearoa’s call centre. The call centre is supported by a range of organisations to ensure that it is accessible to people from every diverse group, including providing services that reflect te ao Maori. Translation services are available.

People who already having their needs assessed and met through a local marae, welfare centre, or other service, should continue to go there. This 0800 helpline is an additional service, not a replacement of existing ones.

The helpline is not for accessing financial support – in those cases, people should continue to contact the Ministry for Social Development directly. 

Where life or safety is at risk, people should always call 111.

28 February 2023

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