Update to families – Cyclone Gabrielle – 13 February

Cyclone Gabrielle has touched down in New Zealand. Fortunately, we have had advance warning for some days now and have prepared for this, particularly in what looks like the worst-hit regions.

So far, our services in Northland, Auckland, Gisborne and Bay of Plenty are feeling the first brunt of the cyclone. We’ve already had to make some evacuations and we’re hearing of power cuts in some places that may last days.

Last night we made the decision to temporarily close all community hubs and offices for today and tomorrow (13-14 February) across the entire North Island, Nelson and Marlborough. We will revisit what this looks like as the cyclone progresses. We learned from the recent floods in Auckland that the need to act and make decisions quickly is best to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.

We do not want the people we support or our staff to be caught out in unpredictable weather conditions. Like everybody, we hope this is a precautionary measure only.

We have been getting in touch with everyone about what the cyclone means and how it might affect them. People First has put out a great Easy Read guide that explains information about Cyclone Gabrielle that we are distributing across all our homes. We have been calling people in our Supported Living service to make sure they’re prepared and safe.

Please keep an eye on local Civil Defence and the news about how the cyclone is tracking in your area.

For a lot of the country, we are in a state of waiting to see what happens. We want to assure you that we’re keeping up to date with Civil Defence teams on the ground and we will let you know as soon as possible in terms of re-opening.

Please stay safe and look after yourselves.

Joan Cowan
Chief Operating Officer, Disability Services

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