National | Cyclone Gabrielle

Red Cross provides $1m in cyclone aid for Wairoa residents

A street in Wairoa a week after Cyclone Gabrielle hit in mid-February. Photo / RNZ, Samuel Rillstone

The Red Cross is allocating over $1 million of donated funds to the repair of yellow-stickered homes in Wairoa.

The payment represents a quarter of Wairoa District Council's Liveable Homes Fund, which is designed to assist with work not covered by insurance.

The money will go toward septic tank cleaning, reticulated plumbing, home heating and essential bathroom and electrical repairs.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said getting Wairoa whānau back into liveable homes as soon as possible was a priority.

"Through the generosity of this funding, and all the people who donated to this fund, we will be able to support local families to bring their homes up to a safe and liveable standard."

Mayor Craig Little says the priority is to make homes liveable again. Photo / RNZ / Jonty Dine

New Zealand Red Cross secretary general Sarah Stuart-Black said her organisation was working closely with the community to ensure the spending would have the most impact.

"This devastating weather event will impact the people of Wairoa for years to come. We can help to ease that burden thanks to the generosity of all those who donated to the NZ Disaster Fund."

Residents do not need to apply to the Liveable Homes Fund, as funds will be allocated through the building inspection process led by the council.

Some of the money will be spent on other aspects of the region's recovery.

The Red Cross has committed a little over 10 percent of the $18 million donated by New Zealanders to its New Zealand Disaster Fund appeal.

Stuart-Black said the needs of flood-affected communities around the North Island differed.

"The way we offer support will reflect this. We are taking the time to understand what each community needs and to work with them on tailored support packages. Over coming weeks we will be allocating more funding to support affected communities," she said.

Planned assistance includes:

  • providing nine psychosocial first aid training courses to 182 people in Hastings, Napier and Wairoa who will be working in impacted communities;
  • providing household clean-up kits, which include brooms, dust masks, cleaning products and overalls;
  • supply of 100 dehumidifiers to assist in drying out flood-damaged homes in Wairoa;
  • distributing 69 first aid kits to marae and other community hubs across the affected areas;
  • providing 100 dehumidifiers, 44 wet and dry vacs and 71 water blasters for the cleanup of flood-affected homes; and
  • supplying 94 generators, 164 fuel cans and fuel have been sent across the country to help provide power to community hubs and isolated homes.