September 28, 2020

Hamilton ready for families of White Island victims

Will do “what it takes”, says city Mayor

By: Gurbir Singh

Families of some victims rescued from the White Island’s volcanic eruption and being treated in Waikato Hospital, are already arriving in Hamilton – and the city is making sure it’s ready.

One family has already arrived and at least one more is expected this week. Details of where they are from, or their status, have not been released.

Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate says the city will do “what it takes” to provide whatever support families might need.

“I don’t think Hamiltonians would want us to do anything less. These people are guests in our city under the most horrendous circumstances and if we can help, we should.  I know that’s what people would want us to do.”

On Tuesday Hamilton City Council activated the Hamilton City Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. Since then the Group is working n support of the Waikato DHB and other services to provide what support is needed while the victims and their families are in Hamilton.

Kelvin Powell
Civil Defence Controller, Kelvin Powell

Civil Defence Controller, Kelvin Powell said Hamilton was focussed on providing practical family support.

“We will be helping families get from the airport in Auckland, arrange transport to the hospital and make sure they know where they are going.”

“We’re also arranging accommodation, food, helping them orientate around the city and anything else they need. We can’t do much for those in hospital receiving expert care, but we can help their friends and family who have travelled to our city to be with them.”

Powell said it was unclear how many people would be arriving in Hamilton but that the Group was well-prepared. He confirmed the arrival of one family already.

“Our top priority is to make sure the families of victims in Waikato Hospital feel welcome and supported during this very difficult time. We’re here to make things as easy as possible for them so they can focus on spending time with their family,” Mayor Southgate added.