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Red Cross, someone to lean on in times of need

New Zealand Red Cross champions what it is to spread kindness. From Meals on Wheels and Winter Warmer Packs to disaster response, they're there for Kiwi communities in times of need.

AMI is a proud partner of New Zealand Red Cross, and provides support for the incredible work they do to assist and ease the trauma from disaster and crisis. Nicky van Praagh, from Red Cross, has been deployed to many events and sees first-hand the impact of Red Cross’ support.

Nicky

As a volunteer in the Disaster Response team, I've been deployed to all sorts of disasters around New Zealand. I was there for communities after the Edgecumbe floods, a water contamination event in Havelock North, Cyclone Gita in Taranaki, and the Whakaari/White Island disaster.

We offer help to those impacted, their families, and support crews. It can be in the form of physical or emotional support and, as you can imagine, these disasters are very traumatic for everybody involved.

When I was first deployed in Edgecumbe, I was based in the Civil Defence Centre, where the evacuees could come when they had nowhere else to go.

I also went with families to 'red-zoned' houses. Their homes had been destroyed and were dangerous, so they were given 15 minutes to collect their essential belongings. We found they were so overwhelmed with grief upon seeing their home, they'd just stand there, not knowing what to do. So, we provided them with a list of things to collect and guided them through the process to make sure they stayed within the required time.

During my time in Edgecumbe, I met a lovely man who'd, unfortunately, experienced the 1987 earthquake as well. His home had been destroyed then and so after rebuilding, he was distraught to see his home ruined for the second time. His wife was quite sick, so he didn't really have anyone else to talk to about how he was feeling. As a Red Cross volunteer, it was really rewarding to give him a shoulder to lean on when he was most vulnerable.

Visit the Red Cross website to donate now.

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