February 24th, 2011
New Website Matches Voluntary Offers Of Accommodation With Christchurch Residents
Wrecked cars and the remains of some houses are seen at Manchester Street in central Christchurch, New Zealand on 24th February. Photo: Reuters/Simon Baker, courtesy Trust.org – AlertNet. 
Singapore, 24th February 201: Habitat for Humanity New Zealand today launches a new website (shelter.org.nz), which links Christchurch residents wanting to get out of the city with people from across New Zealand offering temporary accommodation.
“In the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, we were inundated by offers of help from concerned fellow New Zealanders across the country – people wanting to help, rather than just donating money, in any way they could,” said Pete North, chief executive of HFH New Zealand.
“This new website offers the chance for people with a spare bedroom or holiday home to be matched up with Christchurch residents needing roof over their head or those just wanting to get out of the city for a while. It might be someone whose home has been destroyed or a firefighter and his family that have just finished a grueling shift – anyone wanting to get away from the rubble to reflect and recharge.”
“The focus so far has been on the city centre, but there is also considerable damage in the suburbs and thousands of people affected. The scale of loss and devastation is huge, and the worst in living memory for many in Christchurch,” said North.
HFH New Zealand has contacted over 1,000 of its dedicated volunteers asking for their help, and has offered to perform a volunteer coordination role to support The Salvation Army, New Zealand Red Cross and church groups.
“You can donate to the Habitat for Humanity New Zealand appeal to help those affected, or visit our website if you would like to donate volunteer time or a space in your home,” continues North.
“We continue to monitor the unfolding situation. Setting up this website is just the first step – as soon as the picture of exactly how Habitat can best help emerges, we will provide support with volunteers and other resources at our disposal. For now, it is plain that there is a lot of work to be done and it will take considerable resources to begin the clean-up and healing process. Please donate your time, home or money generously,” he said.
On Tuesday 22 February, an earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing more than 70 people, injuring hundreds and causing widespread devastation. Over 200 people are still missing and search-and-rescue operations continue. The death toll is expected to rise.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck at the shallow depth of 5km (3.1m) at 12.51pm close to Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city.
This is the second major tremor to hit the city in the past five months and the deadliest natural disaster in 80 years. A national state of emergency has been declared. The city of 376,700 people lies on the east coast of the country’s South Island.
Those wishing to donate in New Zealand can visit www.habitat.org.nz  or ring 0800 44 22 48.
Habitat for Humanity New Zealand
Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is a Christian not-for-profit organization that works in partnership with people of goodwill and families in housing need, to eliminate sub-standard housing by building, renovating and selling simple, decent houses on an affordable basis.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global non-government organization that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 2 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.