Update to families – Cyclone Gabrielle – 22 February

Since Cyclone Gabrielle struck the North Island more than a week ago, IDEA Services has been working around the clock to ensure the safety of the people we support, our staff and our communities.

Particularly in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti, we have been incredibly humbled and thankful for all the support we have received from across the country. Although the cyclone has devastated many areas, we have all stood strong together and working with hard-to-reach places that are still cut off from communications and beginning what will be a long clean-up period.

We are continuing welfare checks for all people we support, and everyone is safe and accounted for. All of our services now have power and supplies.

We are also staying in touch with families and staff, some of whom have lost their home or have severe damage to their property. This is an incredibly tough time for our staff who are continuing to work despite not having a home to go back to currently. We can’t thank these people enough and we’re working to support them too.

Last week, we distributed Essential Worker identification letters to staff to ensure access to fuel, travel and other essential items to reach people in need. In the last few days alone, we have completed several food and essentials runs in vans and cars with some amazing help from volunteers and staff across the country. There will be more supplies and trips to come, including welfare kits for our staff.

We are thankful that all our homes in the cyclone-affected areas now have power, however, we are still encouraging people to conserve and boil water. Advice on water keeps changing but we know that boiling water is an easy way to help keep people safe.

Our community hubs and day services remain closed in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti. We will let everyone know as soon as we are able to open back up again.

This will be along road to recovery for many parts of the North Island, but our “can do” attitude has not faltered. Our staff on the ground continue to go over and above despite these challenges, and I’m very proud of every one of them. It was absolutely heartwarming to see this week our staff and people we support in Gisborne have the opportunity to get together for fish and chips in the sunshine.

I’d like to offer my sincerest of thanks to everyone who has supported IDEA Services through Cyclone Gabrielle. We will continue to keep you updated over the coming weeks.

Kia kaha e hoa mā, ngā manaakitanga,

Joan Cowan
Chief Operating Officer, Disability Services

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