Having personally witnessed the emergency response in Piha over the past 12 or so days, what has been clear is the need to ensure that helpers are working with the teams on the ground. A desire to help must be matched with the actual needs of the communities, which can shift daily.
Road access is an issue that will likely take months (or years in some places) to remedy and anxiety over additional road degredation from superfluous non-residential traffic is a very real concern. Please be mindful of this factor when making any plans to help.
Communication continues to be key.
Our hearts have been warmed by stories of VFF community members rallying to fill the needs of their communities by organising manpower (and woman power) to clear debris, provide essential items to those who have lost everything, help in kitchens and evacuation centres, and to offer alternative housing and more.
In the weeks and months to come, help will continue to be required in various forms and we are sure people will continue to rise to the occasion. Please keep an eye on the various projects and events in the pipeline that are working with groups on the ground in affected areas to see where you may be able to provide assistance or support.
It has been heartening to see New Zealanders discard their differences to come together in service of humanity. Previous rifts relating to issues of personal medical choices and status have been cast aside in the desire to respond to the needs of fellow community members. If there can be silver linings in such devastating times, this reconnection and healing sure fits the bill.