New Zealand

Red Cross helping Cantabrians five years after devastating earthquakes

Christchurch / Geneva, February 21, 2016: Five years on from the devastating earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand, New Zealand Red Cross has reached of one in four Cantabrians, and continues to support the ongoing needs of people affected.

Following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Canterbury on 22 February, New Zealand Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response and recovery operations.

New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine has paid tribute to those affected by the quakes and to the Red Cross response teams who were on the ground immediately after the disaster.

Directly following the earthquakes, Red Cross emergency response teams helped with the search and rescue of missing and injured people, set up a temporary welfare centre and registered names of 50,000 affected people, and visited houses in the hardest-hit areas to ensure people were safe.

Since then New Zealand Red Cross has introduced a wide range of grants, initiatives and programmes to address both the psychosocial and physical needs of the most affected and vulnerable households in the quake-affected region.

More than $109 million ($72 million USD/64 million euro) has been distributed to the residents of greater Christchurch through grants and recovery programmes. Almost 14,000 winter packs have been hand-delivered to help those in damaged or cold houses, more than 43,000 torch radios distributed to greater Christchurch families, and the outreach team has conducted more than 4,700 visits to the homes of vulnerable families to provide counselling and support.

“New Zealand Red Cross was charged with the huge responsibility of ensuring the funds raised by the earthquake appeal were distributed directly to those who need it the most,” says Mr Paine.

“The past five years have seen us assist more than 110,000 people through the distribution of cash grants, and tens of thousands of others through our outreach and psychosocial programmes.”

New Zealand Red Cross will spend almost NZD $120 million ($80 million USD/70 million euro) on grants and recovery programmes by June 2017.

All administration, disaster preparedness and response training programmes, and other indirect costs incurred over the past five years have been covered by New Zealand Red Cross and contributions from other Red Cross societies around the world.

“New Zealand Red Cross has been in Christchurch since 1915 and we want to be part of the recovery for as long as it takes. That’s why we’re here for good and will continue to support the community even after the earthquake appeal funds have been fully utilised. There is still work to be done and we feel a deep sense of duty to walk alongside those who need our help.”

Note to editors:

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011 was the second major quake after a magnitude 7.1 event on 4 September 2010. Due to its location and time of day (12.51pm), the February quake was vastly more destructive. More than 400,000 people were affected and 185 people were killed. More than 167,000 houses were destroyed. The region has also experienced more than 4,300 aftershocks registering over magnitude 3 since September 2010.

For further information or interviews contact:

In New Zealand

Simon Makker, Recovery Communications Manager

Tel +64 3 338 4969 ext 3542 Cell: +64 27 807 9634 Skype: smakker56

Alice Montague, New Zealand Red Cross Communications and Fundraising Manager

tel +64 4 495 0139

In Kuala Lumpur

Patrick Fuller, IFRC Asia Pacific communications manager

Tel: +977 980391 +60122308451 / Twitter: @pat_fuller and @IFRCAsiapacific

In Geneva

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications

Tel: +41792132413 Email: Twitter: @BenoistC