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A Cry for Help After Cyclone Gabrielle Leaves a Colossal Trail of Destruction

Destruction
Photo Credit - © Canva Pro Content License

Mary Hobbs writer and publisher, shares her account of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle that has devastated the North Island, leaving Gisborne and Hawkes Bay covered in mud and facing a long path of recovery ahead amid the cyclone’s trail of destruction.

Many kilometres of pine logs and slash around the mouth of the Waikari River, near Putorino. The extensive debris from pine tree farms dammed rivers and blocked bridges during the cyclone adding to the catastrophic damage.

Today, and over the last ten days, many mourn for the loss of their loved ones in the Hawkes Bay area that was hit by the Cyclone Gabrielle. Lives, livelihoods and homes have been lost with thousands left devastated in its wake. Many are still seeking word on those missing, while also fighting to reclaim their homes and possessions, if possible, from the mud and silt left behind.

Click  on this link for a glimpse of the heart-breaking reality on the ground. It shows the devastation of one of our most productive and beautiful areas of the country which, eye-witnesses report now represents a war-zone in some areas, particularly where valleys narrow.

Locals are continuing to grapple with what seem like insurmountable obstacles and locals say that the majority of assistance is coming from volunteers in the area, and Kiwis from all over the country, who have come in to help, despite the obstacles to get there.

Photo: Lingo Lewi

A major concern is that eye-witness reports in the worst affected areas appear to be ignored and are even touted as false information. There have been carefully choreographed statements from politicians and public servants on behalf of the government popping up in just-out-of-the packet high-vis vests, making statements in the vicinity, but those reports are nothing in comparison to the searingly honest eye-witness accounts coming from the mud-splattered souls on the ground cleaning up, in Hawkes Bay. It is the eye-witness accounts that hit home. The strain in their voices, the tension they are under, the enormity of what they are facing would make the strongest amongst us share their shock and grief, wrap our arms around them and do everything possible to get them the help they need and try to lighten the load.

It is those stories shared that move the heart and the Nation.

For they speak truth.

ADDITIONAL HELP URGENTLY NEEDED

Some homes are completely buried in silt. This home at least left the roof space clear. Others were completely buried further up the valleys.

Photo: Lingo Lewi

Like millions of others, my heart went out to those suffering and who were desperate for more help. Locals immediately responded to help their neighbours and others in the area, as well as compassionate souls from all over the country, but many wonder where the Armed Forces are, and the extra police, to help stop the despicable looting. This was the major destruction of one of our most productive areas of the country and people need urgent assistance.  Perhaps the government weren’t receiving these eye-witness accounts of the extent of the damage? Just to be sure, I wrote to the Prime Minister:

“Reports are coming in from those in the worst hit areas that they are being threatened in their homes for their food and belongings, by gangs in some areas. (In other areas the gangs have apparently been helping out.) Have you received information on this? If so, who is being sent to help? Have you sent more police to control attempted lootings? There were over 600 police at Camp Freedom — how many do you have in the Hawkes Bay area?

Are you sending more Army personnel? When the flooding occurred in Lismore, Australia, the armed forces were not sent in sufficient numbers and the locals had to fend for themselves. Is this what is happening here? Please urgently confirm that it is not. Please confirm that the Army is there in SUFFICIENT numbers (and how many) and there are enough police protecting the citizens so they are not also forced to stand guard throughout the night to prevent attacks and robberies.  Exercises for the Army are being held soon in Canterbury. Surely they can go up to help those in such desperate circumstances instead of doing exercises. And surely more police can go to those spots where people are being threatened?

And what about navy ships going in with supplies? Is this happening? A guy reports having waited on his roof for eight hours to be rescued. His eyewitness view of what he saw doesn’t match media reports. He watched many bodies floating past in the flood waters over that eight hours. The number of deaths reported from those in the areas worst hit do not tally with mainstream media reports. What is reported seems far from the truth.

Some have not seen any armed forces helping in the worst-hit areas. Some were sent to the Coromandel! They report insufficient personnel on the ground to help. Other reports are of deep concern too. Are you censoring real news out of these areas? Why aren’t these stories coming through on the government-paid propaganda media channels?”

There are also alarming reports of people too scared to help in rescues in case they get hauled off to Court, due to what happened to the legendary pilots who risked their lives to save others at White Island, and did, only to apparently be punished and have to battle in Court because they had the guts and humanity to help. They deserved medals, but worksafe and the government seemed to brutally punish them instead. An announcement that these draconian “laws” that make it punishable to help someone in a life/death situation needs to be immediately lifted. Will you be doing that?

These are all valid and genuine questions that deserve answers as we want the best and most effective help for all affected in these areas as fast as possible.

It is not reassuring when eye-witness accounts vary from the public reports.

We believe the eye-witness accounts.”

Was there immediate action? Yes. The comment was shadow-banned so only I could see it.

Why would that be? The reports I spoke of were from souls in the area who were shockingly affected by the floods. That’s no conspiracy theory. That is the actuality.

LOOTING AND INCREASED CRIME

Photo credit: Jacob via telegram, via FreeNZ media. “This is the sort of stuff you see — The vehicle has had its mag wheels stolen while the owners are dealing with their flooded lives.”

Other reports from locals have come in, including one from Brent who phoned in from Eskdale Bay View to the Kerre Woodham ZB talkback show on 21 February explaining the horrific situation in a voice that had all the hallmarks of one pushed to the limit of his endurance. He said since the first couple of days of the catastrophe, looting gangs have been coming in throughout the night and threatening the locals for what little was left in their homes. Locals and the “local fire boys” have been trying to keep a 24-hour guard on their properties to prevent further intimidation and looting. “There has been looting left, right and centre here. They’re coming down the railway lines, they’re coming down other back-roads — we’re blocking them.” 

All this while the police superintendent, when questioned about it, said there was, “Plenty of coverage on the ground to deal with what is happening.” Kerre said the media were being told it was “unsubstantiated rumour” and everything was fine. On hearing that, Brent said he didn’t know what La-La land those messengers were living in and invited them to come down and spend a couple of nights with them and see how hard it is. “It is bloody horrific. We’re still missing about 1400 people up our valley and I notice none of that made the news either…” He went on to say the locals know what that means.

When asked what he needed, Brent said “We need people . . we need medical support, we need the local health muppet in Wellington to stop saying to shut down outlying medical centres that have popped up, run by volunteers. We need emergency funding for the councils because currently we’ve got guys on diggers recovering bodies and the council’s not even sure it can pay the bill for the fuel. What? What’s going on??!!” Brent said that the two and a half million raised has probably gone on fuel alone.

He explained they had guys in Auckland willing to come down with Bailey bridges but are being hampered by groups saying they can’t because it’s a “water-lane”. As Brent says, “Just get on with the damned thing!” He said people have been trapped up the valley for days and those bridges would enable access. One guy walked out. That was a 50km hike. What the hell is going on?

Brent was on the 1am to 5 am shift guarding the road the night before and they had 40 vehicles carrying those who had no business there, trying to gain access. They turned them back and took their vehicle plate numbers and found most were connected to local gangs. They were forced to create their own 24-hour guard as there are not nearly enough police on the ground. A recent speech by the Prime Minister at the time mentioned the reports of increased crime and lootings and advised that the police weren’t reporting any increased crime in the area. But that doesn’t confirm that there IS no escalation of crime. That just confirms they weren’t reporting it.

“It’s been left to locals who are already pushed to the limit clearing silt from homes and retrieving bodies.” After talking to Kerre, he was due out with the local FENZ guys to help recover more bodies and “other bits and pieces.”

 Brent said they need financial help, urgent medical help, they need the blockage to using Bailey bridges immediately removed so they can get up the valley, they also need urgent back-up systems to guard against looting and assaults. They are worn out. As he said, they were at day seven at the time of this interview. People are really tired and worn out, yet if they go into town people have no idea. The reality of the horror of it all hasn’t even got to the local town.. “They’re there sipping their lattes!”

The desperation in his voice communicated more than words could.  They are beyond exhausted.

VOLUNTEERS

Why isn’t there more assistance from Army, Navy and police? Where are they? On Newstalk, Heather du Plessis-Allan asks the same questions. Those in the Army, Navy and Air-force would probably welcome the chance to go in there and work with those affected. So why are they being stood down? Whatever for? Imagine what a few platoons could do in the area. Several frigates with supplies coming into the Port would also be welcome.

Surely it is bordering on criminal to stand down our Armed Forces in such a devastated area. They are fit and capable and disciplined. What could be more important than helping our people in Hawkes Bay now?

In Wellington at Camp Freedom, over 600 police were called in to a peaceful protest in a tiny area, yet that is about all they have in the whole of the Hawkes Bay area with reports from locals, who are right there, of around 1400 still missing and with hundreds dead and wholesale looting going on. Help is still not getting into areas further up the valley and efforts of volunteers and locals to use Bailey bridges that would stream-line this process are being blocked. Is that not criminal? Why is it that efforts to help are being stymied? Why isn’t there an immediate response to help those in the Hawkes Bay? Local police are probably also grappling with their damaged homes as well. They need assistance, too.

Volunteers Hawkes Bay have just advised on their FB page that as of today volunteers are required to have a RATS test if they are working at the distribution hub (all shifts). Why? This is an emergency. Why would they put this extra barrier up for volunteers when the tests themselves have been shown to be useless. (Other volunteer groups in the area, like Man-Up of the Freedom and Rights Coalition,  haven’t indulged in that, so many willing are showing up there.)

There were a plethora of critical comments on their Facebook page about this. These were all deleted, leaving only the positive comments.

There would be many more volunteers coming into the Hawkes Bay area if Kiwis were aware of the extent of the damage, but it seems news out from the area continues to be suppressed. Why?

It took one volunteer, two days to get to the area by plane. Why such a delay on volunteers going to help? Why wouldn’t Air NZ, largely funded by the taxpayer, put on free flights every day for volunteers going to help?

Surely the Army, Navy and Air Force would want to be there to help out, too? Stories have come through that the small numbers of the armed forces who are there do want to help but are often being stood down. Whatever for? Imagine what a few platoons could do in the area. Several frigates with supplies coming into the Port would also be welcome. There are some there but not nearly enough. It is incomprehensible at a time like this.

A report from one of the food producers in the area sent through an alert on the severity of the situation on social media. He urged everyone to do what they could to help as soon as possible, for they are fighting against the clock: [abridged].

“It’s called the fruit bowl for a reason, not just grapes and apples, but also pears, onions, corn, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, honey, dairy, beef, sheep products, including wool, apiaries, nurseries and seedbanks. Wineries and orchards have heritage trees and vines — utterly wiped out, with 30 – 40 year old plants gone. Countless beehives and crops buried under a metre of silt.

“Wine, vinegar, honey, bread and processed fruit and vegetables for other products like muesli bars, ice cream and condiments. The layer of silt covering the once fertile land is completely smothered. There is so much cleaning up to be done before people can replant and fertilise. It will take years to get back close to normal. . . . we’ll see massive shortages which will affect almost all food items . . .

“Job losses will be huge. Hipkins stated they’re looking into business support pay to assist in wages, but without trees to plant, prune or pick we’ll see massive job losses across the entire region. Secondary food production will also take a huge hit . . .insurance companies will take years to pay out primary producers and not the value lost. Secondary producers don’t have these protections so . . a lot of these businesses on both sides will struggle — or close.

“Food prices will increase. Many food growers around the country source their seedlings a year in advance from this area and now they’re gone for a very long time.

“Spread the word even if just by word of mouth and try to get people aware of how crucial this time is. The longer we wait to help out, no matter how small, the longer it will take for us as a community to get back to normal. The people I know in the region are out there on diggers in knee-high mud with shovels digging out homes, dead livestock and throwing away treasured items before the rot and mould sets in. They are normal people doing their best to show a brave face to one another, so words of kindness and support are hugely helpful and a massive morale boot to everyone on the ground.

“In the words of the great Fred Rogers, “look for the helpers, especially in times of disaster. Look for the helpers, because then you know there is hope.”

The region needs the Army, the Navy and the Airforce there, on the ground, shoulder to shoulder working with these souls. What could be more important than this right now?

THOSE SOULS WHO LEFT US . . .

Those on the ground, including locals, initially reported, along with mainstream media, that 5000 were registered as missing. There were reports that two make-shift morgues were set up with hundreds of bodies retrieved from the mud, and from those caught in cars, while others were caught up in forest slash that has washed down the rivers, blocked bridges and also been thrown up onto the beaches. A helicopter pilot confirmed seeing many bodies from the air. He is a seasoned pilot who knows what he is looking at. First responders like this don’t lie.

Reports in this week, via other first responders, and several at the port, confirm that in addition to the morgue at one hospital, which holds 60 bodies and is full, there is a make-shift morgue, with one already holding around 100 bodies. (Make-shift morgues are not set up for nine dead bodies.) Several others who have close connections to others at the port have confirmed this and say it is under army control and was allegedly “classified” information.. A far-cry from the 11 reported as deceased, two if which were in Auckland. The morgue and hospital have denied these accounts.

On 22 February, a police spokesperson for the area confirmed there were no further deaths to report other than the nine already confirmed in the region. The wording seemed unusual: “We have not found anyone else that has lost their life as we are going through our searching.” “I have no information to suggest that we are looking for bodies. . .” Further in the article it stated that the police were not looking for dead bodies.

The statement seemed very carefully worded, but confusing. Taken at face value, it appears to mean they have no further deaths to report, rather than no further deaths; that they have not found anyone else who has lost their life as they go through their searching, but it doesn’t state if they have acknowledged deaths others have found. Then the spokesperson “has no information to suggest” the police are looking for bodies, but surely they know if they’re looking for bodies or not? Then, later in the article it is confirmed they are not looking for bodies. It leaves too many questions.

The simple truth is best. It helps the country realise the enormity of the situation that those in the Hawkes Bay are facing and enables Kiwis all over the country to respond in an appropriate manner. The destruction and the death has been enormous. Those suffering need everyone to know the situation.

The confusion with words from public officials and mainstream media even seems to extend to the definition of the word dead. Apparently, no one is now announced as dead in New Zealand until they are identified and next-of-kin is notified. A quick look at some of the news reports after the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 show that the media would announce those estimated dead but, of course, would not announce who they were until the next-of-kin had been notified, which is entirely understandable.

Thousands of seasonal workers pick fruit in these areas every year, especially in high summer. So, as just one example, if these workers died and cannot be identified does that mean they are not counted as dead? Dental records are used to ID the deceased, but their dental records are not in NZ. So, will they never be identified or reported as dead? The viciously swift current and rapidly rising water that crashed through homes with no warning came through in the early hours of the morning when almost everyone was asleep, so forms of identification would have also been washed away.

Again, clarity is needed for everyone in the country. It is cruel to do otherwise.

Active and fit locals reported having trouble getting out of their homes and helping their families up onto the roof. They have told me that the Esk Valley narrows and in some areas a seven metre wall of water was surging towards people in their homes and the silt and sludge that was pushed down with it gave many in the narrow parts of that valley no chance at all as the wall of water from higher up was above the top of their roofs. Metres of silt was left in its wake, like an avalanche of mud.

It is a miracle that some of them survived. There are many stories of extreme courage under the most challenging of circumstances, yet the mainstream news, gives this just a few minutes of attention and then the focus is on anything but the tragedy in front of them.

On 23 February, Stuff news posted an interview with an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) employee where it was reported that the numbers missing were down to single digits. From 5000 initially missing? In just a few days that number is now down to single figures? The devil seems to be in the detail, for the spokesman did add that this was due to police narrowing the criteria to people in “flood-affected areas”. Yet bodies can be carried out of “flood-affected areas” to the sea and onto the beaches. They can also be buried beneath silt and mud, so how would the police not count them? If they are missing or unaccounted for then they are missing aren’t they, no matter where they are? Already, no-one is now counted as dead unless identified, which is strange enough, but now the criteria of “missing” has been narrowed? (This figure was later adjusted by police who now allege it is down to 152.)

Other news quietly announced several days ago, and which has since seemed to have disappeared, is that the coroner now decides who died as a result of the cyclone. What are they going to adjudicate? It wasn’t the cyclone that caused the death, but it could be, “death by drowning?”

In deeply traumatic situations such as this, with loved ones missing or who have died as a result of the cyclone, it is extremely unhelpful for the bereaved to have to sift through new and convoluted definitions of words that are commonly known.

The great danger here is that the catastrophe in Hawkes Bay is being minimalised and so others around the country will not respond as they normally would if they knew of the utter devastation that has unfolded here. Hawkes Bay is one of the most fertile and beautiful areas of the country and produces around 50% of our food. Much of this outstanding farm production has been taken out.

As mentioned, reports are coming in that hundreds have died. Many are missing. Those in the area are understandably traumatised and grieving. In just a few hours their lives were irrevocably changed, lives and homes and livelihoods have been lost. They will still be in shock. They need our help.

REPORTS FROM THE WAR ZONE

It is the voices of the people that count. Those there. Those living the nightmare. Some appear below. Several of the more confronting descriptions from eye-witnesses have been removed from this article for reasons of sensitivity to those in the area.

It is the reports of those living this unfolding tragedy that must be told.

Liz Gunn of FreeNZ Media did an excellent interview with the courageous Tim Baker, a volunteer who went to help close family there in the immediate after-math of the tragedy. He grew up there and he knows the area well. In just a few days, through his Rotary Club in Tauranga, Tim has also managed to help raise $44,000 for flood victims in the area.. His account of what is happening on the ground in Hawkes Bay is important to watch and is one of the most accurate as it gives a factual view from those on the ground, from close relatives who are first responders and know what the situation is, and it backs up comments from other sources too. (See below). Their names remain confidential, as those speaking up about the real situation on the ground have come under attack from trolls. Below are some quotes that show glimpses of the tragedy there and show why immediate help is needed on the ground:

“From what I know there are hundreds dead.”

“My friend in the Army has been up in Gisborne and he said what he saw up there is worse than what he saw in Afghanistan. He has been to war and been in the Army for 20 years. This is worse.”

“The forestry boys are on a recovery mission, also navy, police and SAR, picking up bodies from the beaches and out of forestry blocks because they can get to the more remote areas.”

“ . . . It is a war zone. Horrific.”

“People I know are sleeping with shot-guns. People are stealing generators, using stand-over tactics, others scoping out houses. “

“I have friends in Omahu where the river went through. It is all yellow-stickered. Everything in their house has gone.”

“The cemetery looks like a war zone. “

“The crime is worse.”

“People I know had their house swept away. They found their car inside someone’s roof., one km away.”

“One sleepout had a tree right through it.”

— Bill, Hawkes Bay. (Counterspin)

“Vehicles covered and infiltrated with mud are all write-offs.” (The Counterspin reporter was trudging through ground full of mud)

Messages from Opotiki:

Gisborne and Hawkes Bay crippled. We are getting reports mainstream media are ignoring the worst stories. There were 5,600 registered as missing.

“Dead animals are building up and rotting in Hawkes Bay. Napier residents have been without power, hot water, internet and phone since Monday night…a lot of people have lost their houses, everything.”

“Looting, . . . . . .stealing and hostage situations are going on.  Locals have started road blocks.

“We are being fed so much bullshit via msm. My son, in the Navy tried to help three different areas yesterday. He said most of the superiors are either contradictory, indifferent or unaware. Most of the ship hasn’t even disembarked.

“A Civil Defence knob said there was nothing to do. No work for a volunteer. “

He [volunteer] went to Esk Valley and said the devastation is heart-breaking. Everything that has been done there has been done by civilians. Not one government department has done a thing to aid them.

“I know of a member of the police who was retrieving bodies from the water in Esk Valley on Wednesday. So overwhelmed they couldn’t work. Other police said it is so bad they will be retrieving bodies from the debris for months and many will be lost for they will have been swept out to sea…

“ The funeral directors who usually deal with coroner’s work are required to hand the work over to ID specialists from NZ and Australia. Police say this is only when there are a large number.

“The Navy brought down 21,000 litres of water for Gisborne and it was being on-sold to locals. It’s an absolute shit show.

“I have a friend with Army contacts and they also have their hands tied.

“They were deploying a heap but were stood down at the eleventh hour.

“The gang violence after dark in areas without power is out of control.

 “We are being set up to implode.

“The media have been instructed to play it down and are not telling the full story to the outside world.”

Photo: Lingo Lewi

Caption: Photos of homes show metres of mud inside with holes punched in the roof where people were, if lucky, able to lift themselves from the carnage and certain death — if the mud didn’t also enter the roof space and over it, which in some areas it did.

“We need more diggers and any contacts for helicopters. Unfortunately, our army, navy or air force aren’t doing much at all. So it is up to the people of New Zealand to do something!”

“The mayor said that 80% of the productive areas of Hawkes Bay has now gone.”

“180,000 souls in Hawkes Bay are mourning . . . Compassion and sensitivity are so important. Feet on the ground is so vital. We need people to do the mahi and not just a one day appearance.”

“230 volunteers with Man-up with the Freedom and Rights Coalition are out there doing the mahi. Not one dollar of help from the government. Not one dollar. It would be helpful if the government contributed.”

“The dead number hundreds, thousands, in Hawkes Bay. That’s not counting the people way up where we can’t even get contact yet and not counting Wairoa or Gisborne or anywhere else. People are really upset that the country is being told that only 11 have died. We know it is much worse. One of my friends delivers the bodies from here to Palmerston North to the coroner and he has been doing three trips a day since that morning and that is just one of these guys.”

“We don’t understand why they are downplaying it all so much when considering all the “covid relief” there was and they had all of the police and the food packages and aid and help. Now it is just the locals cleaning up. I haven’t seen a police officer. All the locals have stopped their own work and are helping everyone else, which is amazing to see. I’ve seen a few army guys on the road but it is all the locals and some from out of town doing the clean-up.”

“We are frustrated. The initial shock has worn off and everyone is tired. The adrenaline has stopped now and the tears have started. I burst into tears four times a day.”

“I saw a man who lost his house. He stopped for a coffee but came back to his car without it because he was worried about getting a parking ticket. So I went and got a coffee for him. I bought him some lunch back as well. He told me that he lost his house 13 years ago in a fire so this was the second time he had completely lost his home. He was really lost. He is a Maori guy, about 50. An ex-farmer. So I gave him a hug. Later, my daughter told me he also had a broken back so he was really struggling because he couldn’t do any heavy lifting. His adult kids had helped but had to go back to their work. I cried then.

Everyone is really struggling.

This is what is happening.”

Lingo Lewi

Orchards and farmland devastated

The letter below, submitted to a radio station earlier this week, raises some interesting questions that need to be answered honestly.

Do we need to build far more resilient infrastructure and change land use at the potential cost of billions, when weather modification technology has been available for decades that is able to stop cyclones and floods in their tracks? One has to wonder why this approach is not being implemented, given what is at stake. According to a book I found at the Whangarei library titled ‘Fixing the Sky’, by historian Professor James Fleming, work to modify tropical cyclones began over seven decades ago. He wrote that, “history’s first assault by man on a tropical storm” occurred in 1947 and its direction was changed.

Needless to say, work related to modifying cyclones has continued. For example, one can read the details of the 2010 29th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology online. This shows that work was in full swing and becoming highly advanced. Imagine what can be done now. When there is an entire week to change the course of a cyclone that is known to be heading for homes and food growing areas, why not do it?” — Clare Swinney, to radio 17 February 2023.

Photo: Lingo Lewi

A home wrecked by the cyclone.

Is this a possible reason why there may be an apparent desertion of duty by those who have the power to give this beautiful region the utmost assistance from all the resources at their disposal?

It would be good to have a conversation about that and to receive honest answers. Instead, these days, enquiring souls are shouted down with accusations of “conspiracy theorist” from every quarter if they dare to utter a different view, but if the detractors paused for a moment to simply read the requirements of the Paris Accord and Agenda 2030, and see for themselves if this may possibly be linked to what we are seeing unfold in New Zealand and around the globe in the last three years, then perhaps they would be a little more willingness to listen to other’s views. After all, isn’t democracy about freedom of speech and opinions? There is no reason to shout someone down because they hold a different view.

Just watching the attack unfold on Maureen Pugh, the West Coast representative for National, with a complete pile-on from her colleagues and other members for having the courage to voice a view that differed from “party” policy, was an eye-opener, especially from a party that professes to champion democracy. Or at least it used to. The deputy-leader of National commented Maureen was going to have a lot of reading to do. She would be given books to read. What books? Mein Kampf?

There it was, in full view, the degree to which members of parliament from all sides of the House had, somewhere along the way, completely forgotten the definition of democracy. In a free country? Chilling. Mike Hosking also commented on that. One could not help but ask, is there any opposition in parliament that genuinely represents the people?

Jacob via telegram and FreeNZ media.

“Today’s job clearing sticky mud around a young pear orchard to save the trees.”

MORE HELP

These Kiwis need much more real help, shoulder to shoulder. Reinforcements from police, army, navy and air-force should be there offering support, 24/7, until the area is back on its feet.

The Bailey bridges need to go in without delay to enable access to areas further up the valley. Fuel for the volunteers needs to be paid for, all obstacles need to be removed to enable volunteers to help. Air New Zealand should offer free flights for all volunteers to the area and help fly supplies in. The Navy should get crews there through their frigates and bring them in with supplies, including more medical supplies and distribute them. The health minister should be encouraging volunteer pop-up medical areas where people are working rather than trying to close them down(!) The Army should be there in full-force assisting the volunteers. The Air-force should be flying in supplies further up the valley if anyone is left there.  And the Armed Forces have medics. Can they go to the area and set up a triage?

We cannot and must not desert them in their time of need.

And we must help spread the word of the enormity of the situation so all who are able to can respond accordingly. Any attempts to down-play what has happened in Hawkes Bay is extremely cruel.  Compassion and sensitivity is vital. We need to listen to those there. Hear them. Provide what they need with no delays.. And remove all obstacles.

Truth helps heal. Lies do not.

To those affected by the devastation: We will do all we can to help tell of the magnitude of the devastation you’re confronting and those of us who can will come to help, with whatever skills we have.  Keep telling us what you need. Phone when you can. Give updates.

Kia kaha beautiful Kiwis of the East Coast. . .

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. — Gandhi

Damage and Destruction – How You Can Help:

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