28 Feb 2023
Tairawhiti Flood Relief Update
A flood relief appeal being led by remote, isolated East Cape communities has raised its target of $221,400 in just two weeks.
The flood appeal was launched immediately following Cyclone Gabrielle, and is specifically targeted to provide vital power and communications resources to the impacted communities of Matakāoa, Tokomaru, Te Puia and Waipiro Bay.
Manaaki Matakāoa Poutoko (Lead), Tina Ngata says that they have been overwhelmed with the support offered both from within Aotearoa and around the world.
“We appreciate every single donation and every single person who has promoted the campaign. It is all going towards life-saving communications networks for communities bearing the brutal front of climate change. There have also been some very generous donors, some of whom have not yet given permission to be named, but we want them to know that we greatly appreciate their support and we are putting all of these funds to immediate use”.
The power and communications devices are being provided within a strategy known as the “Kōkiri” model, which is co-developed with the communities and also draws from overseas communications strategies, utilised in natural disaster and conflict scenarios. The current campaign will bolster communications and power access for over 30 “cluster communities” of East Cape households who are regularly isolated together by severe weather events.
“Our rural communities understand very well what their needs are, they are able to direct response and welfare better than anyone else. The Kōkiri model supports them to have exponential reach into their most isolated areas, overcoming infrastructural barriers and communicating welfare and medical needs out to the world with greater ease, significantly reducing risk of medical and psycho-social harm as well as first-responder burnout” says Ms Ngata.
Although the funding target has only just been met, resources have been purchased and deployed already to the townships, in recognition of the clear need. Manaaki Matakāoa have also committed to sharing the financial distribution of the campaign, so that all donors can see exactly how the funds have been spent. Community and Civil Defence Lead for Tokomaru Bay, Lillian Te Hau-Ward says the support is greatly appreciated – “Mai te Akau o Tokomaru Civil Defence Roopu we would like to thank one and all for your support. Communications has been a big issue during Cyclone Gabrielle so the purchasing of these resources with your koha will enable communication between isolated areas and CD kaimahi to mobilise support where needed. Mai taku ngākau ki o koutou ngākau tenei te mihi nunui mo o koutou tino tautoko.”
According to Ms Ngata, the model has drawn significant interest from other communities who are in discussions with Manaaki Matakāoa about how it may work for their context. “In order for it to work best, the Kōkiri model needs to be adapted based on local intelligence about floodzones, infrastructure and household needs but we are thrilled that there are others who find it helpful and are only too happy to share it”.