In this article:
In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, we want to send our thoughts to those affected. We've been inspired by the amazing stories of heroism, survival and community that have been shared over the past week. They emphasise what we do best: help and support each other in times of need.
We know that many of our members are in the affected area, much of which is isolated and without communications. We have been in touch with some members in the area to provide our support and we'll keep trying to contact those who we haven't managed to get ahold of yet.
How to find help and the latest information
- Find out the latest impact on your region here.
- Civil defence and important updates:
- If you need support, please contact the WasteMINZ team. We can share important messaging with our members, put out a call for help or put you in touch with other organisations that can provide further support.
- Look after yourself! Anxiety is very common during an emergency event such as a flooding and evacuations. This is a normal response to a very stressful situation. Talking to people and helping others can be both therapeutic and useful. If you need further support for yourself or for others:
- call your general practice, after-hours GP practice or Healthline on 0800 611 116
- free-call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
- in an emergency, call 111
How to find people or register as safeIf you haven't managed to contact your loved ones, there are public noticeboards available on NZ Herald, Stuff or on Facebook. You can also let Police know if you are safe via this website.
How you can help
- Please DON’T try to send food, blankets or other donated goods. In the vast majority of cases, donated goods with the absolute best intentions end up more of a hindrance than a help. Roads are impassable in many areas and more importantly, teams on the ground just don’t have the facilities, time or people to sort through donations.
- If you are hearing calls for specific items in an affected area and are close by (for example a local marae is asking the community for donations of bedding) and are able to make that specific donation right away, that's all good, go ahead.
- The focus now is on immediate basics such as food and shelter for affected communities. Rest assured, those who have been hard hit will be looked after with those lifesaving essentials.
- Volunteering Hawke’s Bay
- Volunteering Northland
- Volunteering Bay of Plenty
- Volunteering Auckland
- Volunteering Waikato
- If you have the means, financial donations are the most useful thing. Donations of food or money can be made to:
Tips for people affected by power loss/flooding
People are advised to keep their mobile devices charged wherever possible. Calls to 111 are prioritised across the mobile networks so if you have coverage you should be able to make an emergency call.
- It is important to clean and dry your house and everything in it. Floodwater may contain sewage and other hazardous materials which can contaminate your home.
- If your gas meter has been affected by water or debris, contact your gas supplier.
- Always work safely when cleaning up after a flood by wearing protective clothing and washing hands thoroughly after clean-up and before handling food.
- Keep children and animals away from previously flooded areas until they have been cleaned and made safe.
- Take photos and videos of the damage and anything that needs to be removed before starting the clean-up, for insurance purposes.
- The Student Volunteer Army have been briefed to help our community with the clean up. Please visit their website and log a job with them.
- Auckland residents can find out more about how to dispose of flood damaged items here.
Fridges and freezers:
- Fridges and freezers should not be entering the general waste stream without being degassed during the flood clean up due to the risk that gas presents to global warming, as a potent greenhouse gas.
- It is a requirement of the Montreal Protocol and Climate Change Response Act 2002 for fridges and freezers to be degassed and it is illegal for them to be dumped at landfill without this step
- What shouldn't be put into rubbish bins?
- Gas bottles, rechargeable batteries, and other hazardous waste should not be put out for collection.
- These items can be dangerous, the likes of gas bottles and batteries can ignite and cause truck fires.
- See here for how to dispose of batteries and other hazardous waste, which is flammable, toxic, corrosive, explosive or radioactive. Gas bottles can be taken to a nearby transfer station or Community Recycling Centre. Matagas or TankTest will take gas bottles for free.
- Wash cooking, eating, and any other kitchen utensils that have been covered by floodwater in hot soapy water.
- Throw away all food and drinking water that has come in contact with floodwater, including things stored in containers. It is impossible to know if containers have been damaged and the seals compromised.
- Get rid of perishable foods (such as meat and dairy products) when they have been unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
- If the power has been off to the freezer for more than 2 days, get rid of all thawed food.
- Do not eat garden produce if the soil has been flooded. Clean up and remove debris and sprinkle gardens with lime.
- Do not eat shellfish from the river mouth or harbour after a flood. More info on food safety is here.