The Government has announced an $11.5 million Community Support Package to help tens of thousands of people affected by the recent floods, and as regions prepare to respond to Cyclone Gabrielle.
“Community organisations, groups and iwi have mobilised quickly to support people and whānau who have been impacted and displaced as a result of the unprecedented flooding,” said Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni.
“However it’s clear that demand for support is exceeding funding available for these groups to respond quickly to need in the community.
“Today’s announcement is another part of the Government’s ongoing response as we continue to support Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and impacted regions,” she said.
The support package will provide immediate relief for individuals and families, bespoke support for disabled people like transport assistance, as well as support for the voluntary sector, the Minister said.
“Over 25,000 people have been supported with food, clothing, shelter, bedding and medication. People have lost their homes and vehicles, families are facing additional challenges getting their children back to school and many families will be facing anxiety and distress from the significant disruption of the floods and impending cyclone.”
“While we’re not out of the woods yet and the full extent of both adverse weather events unfolding, we need to act swiftly to ensure people can continue to access support, whether that be through their church, marae or youth group for example. Our focus remains on the most affected communities including Māori, Pacific, disabled, youth and our ethnic communities, and the organisations and groups that work to support them.”
The Government is also enabling Community Connectors, who were established as part of the welfare response to COVID-19, to support the Auckland and impacted regions flood relief, and as regions prepare for cyclone Gabrielle.
“They’re a trusted interface for individuals and families and play an important part in helping households to access community and government support,” said Minister Sepuloni.
“Today’s package sits alongside a suite of supports that Government have swiftly put in place to support the response in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. These include, the $5 million support packaged for Auckland businesses, support to provide public transport assistance for disabled people, Civil Defence Emergency Management payments, MSD’s Hardship Assistance payments, Rural Assistance payments as well as the Enhanced Taskforce Green programme which can be tapped into to support the clean-up.”
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also covers reimbursement of welfare costs incurred by local authorities in caring for directly affected people in an emergency, essential infrastructure and recovery repairs and contributions to Local Authority Disaster Relief Funds (usually Mayoral Relief Funds).
“As we brace ourselves for the anticipated impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, my message to Aucklanders is to look after yourselves and those in your household. After making my way across the Civil Defence Centres over the last three days, I’m heartened by the tireless efforts, commitment and dedication of everyone who are supporting, serving and leading the response on the ground. We will get through this,” Ms Sepuloni said.