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Published: 2010-09-10 00:00:00

Waikato councils today pledged $173,000 to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, the relief fund set up to support those affected by last Saturday’s earthquake.

The donation is being coordinated by the Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group representing all councils in the region.

Joint Committee chairman Peter Lee said the cash grant would be in addition to the technical support Waikato councils have already offered through the civil defence group. This includes sending building inspectors, engineers and emergency management staff to Canterbury in the wake of the earthquake.

“The Waikato group is ready to support Christchurch city and Selwyn and Waimakariri districts as required to help them rebuild after this devastating earthquake,” he said.

"There is a real need for financial and practical support, particularly in the rural communities which have suffered major infrastructure damage, job losses and serious social disruption.”

The Red Cross has promised that 100 per cent of every donation received by the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal will be spent entirely on the people affected by the earthquake.

Meantime, six volunteer building inspectors from across Waikato are due to return from the disaster zone on Monday, with another two shifts of six ready to head south to provide cover until 21 September.

The Waikato civil defence group public information manager returns from Christchurch tomorrow, while an emergency operations centre manager is in Waimakariri until next Thursday.

A 10-strong team of welfare centre managers and support staff is leaving for Christchurch this evening to relieve their Canterbury counterparts over the weekend.

The Group Emergency Management Office based at Environment Waikato continues to coordinate requests for response support as well as coordinating the administration for all deployments.

TO MAKE A DONATION TO THE CANTERBURY EARTHQUAKE APPEAL
·    Make a secure online donation now to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal by clicking http://www.redcross.org.nz/donate
·    Make an automatic $20 donation by phoning 0900 33 200.
·    At any branch of Post Shop Kiwibank, ANZ, National, ASB, BNZ and TSB throughout New Zealand
·    Vodafone FreeTXT service.  To donate $5 FreeTXT  ‘QUAKE' to 555 or $3 FreeTXT ‘QUAKE' to 333
·    At any Red Cross service centre or branch nationwide
·    By sending a cheque (made payable to: New Zealand Red Cross) to: Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, Freepost 232690, PO Box 12140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144