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Published: 2010-09-06 00:00:00

A number of Waikato organisations and people have already started to come forward with offers of help for Canterbury residents affected by Saturday’s earthquake, says the Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group.

Waikato coordinating executive group chair Langley Cavers said the offers were currently being processed and it was heartening to see people had started ringing in asking if they could help.

About 10 calls had come in from civil defence personnel offering help and several from members of the public.

He also said the Waikato CDEM Group generally was on standby to provide assistance to Canterbury civil defence if requested.

""This is a trying time for the people of Canterbury and it would be good if we can be as supportive as we can. The Waikato CDEM Group is ready to help."

Mr Cavers said the Waikato CDEM Group Emergency Management Office based at Environment Waikato had developed the following arrangements for members of the public wanting to help:

- People can call 0800 800 401 and ask to be put through to the civil defence line established for the quake.

- The line will advise that those wanting to donate material items should contact the Red Cross or Salvation Army. However, at this stage items like food and clothing are not being asked for.

- The line will also say that those wanting to make financial donations can contact either the Red Cross (www.redcross.org.nz or 0900 33 200 for auto $20) or the Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.org.nz or 0800 53 00 00). Details of a mayoral fund being discussed in Canterbury specifically for the earthquake will be released when they become available.

- Callers wanting to make offers of people, machinery and other resources will have the option of speaking to a civil defence person who will log their offer and pass it on to Canterbury civil defence when they request it (note, it may be several days or weeks before requests are received).

Mr Cavers said the disaster showed how important it was for people to be prepared for an emergency such as Saturday’s earthquake.

"The wider Waikato region is exposed to a range of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami and river flooding.

"But a recent survey in the Waikato showed only eight per cent of respondents were fully prepared.

"Waikato people do need to do more to be prepared. I strongly urge people to visit our website www.waikatoregioncdemg.govt.nz/ for tips on how to prepare for disaster and what to do when one strikes."

Examples of good preparedness include:

- Having an emergency plan

- Having emergency items and water

- Regularly updating emergency survival items

- Having an emergency plan which covers what to do when not at homes

"The results of the survey highlight the urgent need for more Waikato residents to make a start now to be better prepared to deal with the impacts of an emergency," said Mr Cavers.

"The Canterbury quake shows disaster can strike at any time."

Waikato CDEM Group Joint Committee chairman Peter Lee said he had been particularly impressed by the performance of Christchurch mayor Bob Parker in the aftermath of the disaster.

"It is very important in situations like the Canterbury earthquake to have strong leadership and Bob Parker has certainly provided that."