As Aucklanders start week four of life in lockdown, Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) has been busy ensuring that those most affected are receiving the support they need.
During the past three weeks, more than 150 council staff have been redeployed to assist with the welfare response, which has included the distribution of food parcels, outreach calls to elderly residents and the funding of mobile phones to ensure our homeless communities can stay connected during these challenging times.
These initiatives are in place to make it easier for all Aucklanders to follow the government’s advice - stay home, save lives.
Here’s a round-up of week 3 in numbers:
Food and essential items distributed to Aucklanders in need
During week three, Auckland Council received more than 5200 calls to our welfare distribution call centre. In the same period around 7500 food parcels were delivered to Aucklanders who have found themselves struggling financially, or who are unable to source food themselves, due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Aucklanders who are in isolation and have no access to other support networks or unable to afford groceries, can call the Auckland Emergency Management welfare response helpline on 0800 22 22 96 for an essential food parcel. The helpline is open between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week.
Civil Defence volunteers
Auckland Emergency Management’s food distribution efforts have been supported by more than 30 Civil Defence volunteers that make up our Auckland Response Teams.
There are currently three Response Teams being tasked with delivering emergency food packages for urgent needs. These are separate from the scheduled food deliveries already being coordinated by AEM and are being delivered throughout the Auckland region, including the Gulf Islands.
The teams are made up of Civil Defence trained community members and they also remain on standby to respond to any other Civil Defence emergencies that may occur outside of the current COVID-19 response.
Library staff make ‘calls to check’ on elderly Aucklanders
Last week, a team of around 50 library staff were redeployed to make welfare calls to more than 15,000 Auckland residents who are over 70, live alone and have little-to-no internet access.
So far, around 11,000 calls have been made; with the number of staff making those calls this week being increased to 69, and around 2500 calls being made daily.
The team are responsible for making general welfare calls, taking details of any challenges that residents are encountering and referring them along to the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland Emergency Management to resolve.
Mobile phones keeping Auckland’s homeless connected
This week, 150 mobile phones have been distributed to Auckland’s homeless community by Auckland Council and its outreach and housing partners as part of the COVID-19 welfare response.
The phones will ensure Auckland’s rough sleepers are still able to access essential services such as food, shelter, general welfare checks and medical care including mental health and addiction services during the alert level 4 lockdown.
Severe drought continues to bite
Despite a few rainy days, Auckland is still in a severe drought. The total volume of water stored in our dams is currently around 50 per cent, which is well below average for this time of year (76 per cent).
The message is simple. Washing our hands is essential. Washing our car or water blasting the house is not. Think before you use – every drop we save makes a difference.
Auckland Council services
During the level 4 lockdown, the council is operating essential services only. Details of the status of our services is available here. To report urgent issues, call council phone lines (09 301 0101).
Important information you need to know for support
The latest COVID-19 help, advice and updates from Government are available at covid19.govt.nz
Managing your mental wellbeing - If you feel you're not coping, it's important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.
Financial support - Work and Income call centres are experiencing very high demand at the moment, so it’s recommended you check the website first. If you don’t have access to the internet you can call on 0800 559 009.
Feeling unwell - if have health questions, call your GP before you visit. Or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, or you don’t know who to contact for help, phone the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am – 10pm, 7 days a week).