Christchurch Earthquake Response
The past week has seen us at NZCCSS Secretariat working to contribute to a coordinated and long term response to the social services needs for Christchurch – both the immediate needs for help but also into the coming weeks and months. Executive Office Trevor McGlinchey visited Christchurch on March 3 along with other NGO and Ministry of Social Development officials to meet with Christchurch NGOs. The Ministry of Social Development is also surveying social service organisations affected by the earthquake to assist the recovery effort.
Christchurch NGO Updater website: www.ngoupdater.org.nz
NZCCSS has set up this website on Thursday 3rd March as a service to NGOs in Christchurch to share information about their current location, operational status, assistance needs or offers of assistance to other organisations. More than 20 Christchurch agencies have already entered information.
NZFVWO has posted general earthquake information on its website and it also includes a Google Groups links for offers of help and equipment in Christchurchwww.nzfvwo.org.nz/featured/2402/.
Canterbury earthquake Community Response Fund
The Government is making $7.5 million available from the Community Response Fund Contingency to provide one-off grants to support community-based social services as they deal with the aftermath of the two recent earthquakes. The services that can apply are the same as those already covered under the existing Community Response Fund criteria and is open to critical services including those who do not currently receive Government funding. Call 0800 777 10 to receive an application form or download from the MSD website:
Qualified professional assistance – social workers, counsellors and related qualified staff
Offers of assistance with material and people should be directed to the email address:
Housing assistance – there is a national website for offers of emergency housing for people:
Canterbury District Health Boardwww.cdhb.govt.nz/communications/earthquake/default.htm
Good information on coping with the psychological impact of the earthquake is available on the MoH website: www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/coping-with-stress-factsheets
Te Puni Kokiri has sent extra staff to support Ngai Tahu are teams based Rehua marae, Ngā Hau e Whā marae (operating as a recovery Assistance Centre) and Ngāi Tahu’s coordination centre at Wigram (providing analytical capability and reporting). Accommodation at marae both within Christchurch and around the country is being coordinated while offers of logistical assistance are being run under the umbrella of Te Puawaitanga - Māori Women’s Welfare League:www.tpk.govt.nz/en/newsevents/news/earthquake-bulletin-8/
Aged Residential Care relocation
District Health Boards NZ has written to all aged residential care providers urging contracted aged residential care providers to make sure that they are following the procedures for admission of new residents who may re-located out of Christchurch. This will help ensure that the older people with the greatest needs can be accommodated in a timely fashion. Service providers are being urged to contact their local Needs Assessment agencies who are in turn liaising with the national health coordination team and Canterbury District Health Board.
Aged Care in Canterbury
The Canterbury DHB is prioritising its work with vulnerable older people. They emphasise that older people in the community that urgently require assistance because of health or disability needs should contact Older Persons Health on (03) 337 7765 for assessment and advice. Despite there being extreme pressure on Aged Residential Care beds within Canterbury, services are available for those that need them and the Canterbury DHB is able to help people access services outside the region if necessary. Canterbury DHB is also establishing an additional respite service for older people in Christchurch, and has established a 24hour assessment centre for frail elderly at Princess Margaret Hospital.http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/cdhb-updates#safetyagedcareresidents
NZCCSS member agencies in Christchurch
Anglican City Mission
The Christchurch Anglican City Mission was inside the Christchurch CBD exclusion zone and was unable to operate. With the partial lifting of the CBD no-go areas on Sunday 6 March the Mission Centre is now accessible. Unfortunately until it has been checked for safety and such issues as water and sewerage are fully investigated the City Missioner, Michael Gorman, is still unsure about the Centre’s usability.
Mission Staff have been working unrelentingly to ensure that the work of supporting Christchurch’s most vulnerable continues. A house has been rented as a base for their community detox programmes. It is hoped that most of their services will be up and running in some form by Friday 11th.
The Mission has been working hard with the support of the police to find all of their homeless “rough sleeper” clients. They believe they have been able to locate all but a couple of these clients, but do hold grave fears for the safety of those they have been unable to locate.
Anglican Aged Care in Christchurch has been hard hit by the earthquake. Churchill rest home and hospital was evacuated and residents moved to other rest homes outside of Christchurch. Bishopspark in the central city has had severe damage to the apartment building which has had to be evacuated, as well a serious damage to the historic bishop’s residence. The Anglican Taonga has reported in detail on this:http://anglicantaonga.org.nz/News/Common-Life/Churchill-Courts-evacuated
The Baptist Church does not have a large social service agency based in Christchurch. Rather they have responded by establishing emergency welfare centres and recovery assistance centres working at a local level throughout Christchurch. This has included providing initial responses to more ongoing support in their communities. Two examples of this support are available in the following links:
Catholic Social Services
The Catholic Social Services Centre was inside the CBD exclusion Zone with staff just getting access today. Their building is useable and has all essential services. They will be open to provide counselling and support from Tuesday 8 March, from 9 to 5.
They have contacted all of their clients and have offered support and assistance. Many clients were relieved to be able to access their counsellors and support people. Catholic Social Services staff are preparing for large influx of clients as people access counselling and longer term support to address the trauma arising from the earthquake.
The Methodist Church has people on the ground helping to support those in need especially the elderly. They are still in the process of establishing a base for the church to operate out of and the Methodist Mission that is still without a home are looking to pick up on the next wave of need, such as the supply of food and counselling. They are planning a seminar on crisis counselling in the very near future in Christchurch. Other Methodist missions around the country have pledged their support to Christchurch and so are keeping a watching brief on the situation
The Wesley Care aged care and independent living complex have come through the days since the earthquake well. There were no serious injuries to residents or staff, staff been able to continue working despite disruptions to private and transport. While still awaiting engineering appraisal, the buildings are okay and they now have water and sewerage after ten days without.
The Presbyterian Support Upper South Island main office was located on the edge of the CBD “no go zone”. Due to the main office’s proximity to highly unstable buildings it has been given an Orange Sticker. This means that on first visual inspection the building looks like it is structurally sound, but people cannot enter the building as it is at risk of being damaged by the potential collapse of unstable buildings in its near proximity. Staff members have been able to access the building briefly to recover critical records and equipment.
Presbyterian Support is continuing its work from its other centres in Christchurch and by staff working from home. Sister Presbyterian Support organisations are providing staff and other support to enable the Christchurch team to respond to the additional demands placed by the earthquake response and the loss of their main office.
The Salvation Army continues to offer high levels of support throughout the City. This has included working to support people at the recovery centres, maintaining a very busy food bank, coordinating support services, providing social work and counselling and providing back up to the recent suburban ‘door knocking’ programme.
For this latter work ‘flying teams’ were established so that when particularly traumatised people were identified by a door knocking team a flying squad of skilled counsellors or social workers were dispatched to provide immediate support. During the intensive suburban door knocking programme over 80 flying squad visits a day were made by teams coordinated by the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is also involved in a whole raft of support work throughout the City.