Net­work of vol­un­teers eases pain

The Leader (Tasman) - - GARDENING - SA­MAN­THA GEE

As the ex­tent of dam­age across the Tas­man district be­comes clear, vol­un­teers con­tinue to join forces to meet the needs of the com­mu­nity.

Through the Be­yond the Bridge Face­book Page, Melissa Girvin has been co-or­di­nat­ing food de­liv­er­ies to res­i­dents and vol­un­teers in cy­cloneaf­fected ar­eas.

A week on, she said the re­al­ity was sink­ing in for peo­ple whose homes and prop­er­ties had been badly dam­aged.

‘‘There are a few frag­ile peo­ple out there just feel­ing a bit over­whelmed by ev­ery­thing.’’

‘‘Their prop­er­ties def­i­nitely aren’t fine by any means, they can live, they have got power and water but they have got to or­gan­ise in­sur­ance and it is all just a bit stress­ful.’’

As of Tues­day morn­ing, Nel­son Tas­man Civil De­fence and Emer­gency Man­age­ment’s web­site re­ported over 550 build­ing in­spec­tions had been un­der­taken to as­sess the safety of prop­er­ties.

Five dwellings had been ‘‘red stick­ered’’, or deemed un­in­hab­it­able, while 14 homes have been ‘‘yel­low stick­ered’’ for re­stricted use or ac­cess.

Girvin said the re­sponse to the call for help had been heart­en­ing.

On Tues­day, she posted on the Face­book page ask­ing for fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles and within hours, a truck with pro­duce had ar­rived.

‘‘The peo­ple are just so grate­ful, this is just one thing they don’t have to think about it.’’

Girvin said the re­sponse de­pended on the need in the com­mu­nity. They had sent out bak­ing, snacks, meals, toi­let pa­per and sani­tis­ers among other things.

She es­ti­mated they were feed­ing up to 300 peo­ple each day.

Her big­gest con­cern was that there were peo­ple who had been af­fected that she hadn’t been in touch with.

‘‘Ev­ery day I hear of some­body that has been missed and it guts me. I heard yes­ter­day of some­one that hasn’t seen any­one for five days.

As soon as we hear that we re­spond to it and make sure we get straight on top of it.

‘‘There are some very badly af­fected ar­eas up Brook­lyn Val­ley, the fam­i­lies up the West Bank have had tremen­dous dam­age, ob­vi­ously Mara­hau, it’s is bad over there.’’

Girvin said she had been asked how long she would be co-or­di­nat­ing sup­plies for.

‘‘As long as peo­ple need it we will carry on, de­pends how long it takes to clean up I guess.’’

Any­one want­ing to do­nate food or time should visit the Be­yond the Bridge Face­book page for more in­for­ma­tion.

LUZ ZUNIGA/ STUFF

Sup­plies are stock­piled ready for de­liv­er­ing to Gita’s af­fected homes.

LUZ ZUNIGA/ STUFF

Brook­lyn Val­ley res­i­dents are over­whelmed with the amount of work they have to do to cope with Gita dam­age to their roads and prop­er­ties.

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