Disasters & Accidents

New Zealand launches global fundraiser for cyclone-aftermath reconstruction

Sydney, Australia, Feb 27 (EFE).- New Zealand launched a global fundraising campaign for post-cyclone reconstruction efforts on Monday.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins also announced a special Lotto draw for Mar.18 “to help support our recovery efforts.”

Cyclone Gabrielle ripped through the country’s North Island earlier this month, killing at least 11 and forcing thousands of people out of their homes.

“We will rebound from Gabrielle by building back better, safer, and smarter. This global appeal means we can harness local and international donations and channel them to the communities and projects that need them the most,” Hipkins told reporters.

Hipkins said the fundraiser was modeled on the Christchurch appeal that raised over NZ$94 million ($58 million) to assist with the rebuild and revitalization efforts following the 2011 earthquake.

“We will be looking to attract international donations to supplement the generosity of the New Zealanders.”

The prime minister said the campaign would focus on medium to longer-term recovery projects to ensure that the “region is built better with greater resilience and is better prepared to withstand the next extreme weather event.”

He said all proceeds from the lottery draw that would collect 50 cents in the dollar would go to communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“No gambling is great, but compared to some of the other forms of gambling where there are clearly bigger issues, I am comfortable with a Lotto draw,” he said.

Internal Affairs Minister Barbara Edmonds said she had “seen the enormous ‘all hands on deck’ community response to the devastation.”

“It has taken its toll and there is clearly a huge need out there which we can all show our support for,” she said.

The Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal will be overseen by a charitable trust with Department of Internal Affairs chief executive Paul James, former Napier mayor Barbara Arnott, and Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou chairman Selwyn Parata, as the trustees.

Gabrielle made landfall on the North Island on Feb.12.

The New Zealand government declared a national emergency in several affected regions spanning most of the North Island, including Auckland, the largest city in the country.

On Monday, police said at least four people remain unaccounted for in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle. EFE


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