“It takes a community to help a community,” is an apt description of the days, weeks and even months that followed 27 January as Visionwest joined with other social service agencies and organisations, working together, utilising our strengths, and sharing our resources, to ensure essential needs of those impacted by the floods were met.
The Auckland Anniversary Weekend (27 January 2023) weather event was unlike any before it. The storm’s ferocity and the volume of rainfall took the city by surprise and had a devastating impact on Te Uru o Tāmaki Makaurau West Auckland and other parts of the city. Two weeks later, Cyclone Gabrielle hit bringing more devastation. The result for many whānau was the loss of accommodation and household possessions followed by challenges relating to mental health, personal finances, and food insecurity.
Visionwest responded – a distinctive feature of this response being the speed with which we were able to react to the needs of those affected. The ability to mobilise so quickly lies in the simple reality that responding to the needs of people who are vulnerable or experiencing difficult times is what we do every day. And, while it is true, we had to pivot some of our services to appropriate delivery mechanisms, and the presence of a crisis meant there was a greater urgency to much of the work we were engaged in, our focus continued to be on walking alongside those who are facing tough times.
This report contains an account of Visionwest’s flood response and some of the observations and lessons learned as we answered over 3,500 direct enquiries for support.