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West Coast Civil Defence assisting communities in the far north

17 Feb 2023

West Coast Civil Defence personal and equipment have been deployed yesterday to assist Cyclone Gabriella impacted communities.

Council’s group manager regulatory services Sean Judd says:” We received the call Wednesday from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and arranged to freight the 16 Starlink satellite communication devices to the national coordination centre in Wellington for deployment into the far north.”

The devices will enable remote and isolated communities to re-establish vital communications via a portable broadband network. Devices such as cell phones and computers can link into the wireless network created by Starlink enabling the user to access the internet and the various communication platforms online.

Mr Judd says: “Sounds Air have covered the freight charges and council staff arranged the devices to leave with Sounds Air flights on Thursday morning.”

The Starlink devices were purchased by West Coast Emergency Management to ensure Civil Defence can communicate with all communities within the Buller and beyond in the event of a major civil defence emergency.

“Effective communications with communities are such an important part of effectively managing an operation to ensure the right resources are sent to the area's most in need. The importance of communications has been highlighted in the North Island event and I hope the Starlink devices will go some way to rectifying that issue.”

Buller’s Emergency Managment Officer Jannis Lennon has also been deployed to assist Civil Defence in Hastings. She left on Thursday morning.

Buller District Council was also approached regarding the possibility of sending Building Inspectors to areas grappling with the numerous building assessments required over vast and often remote areas of the North Island.

Mr Judd says: “People from all around New Zealand helped us in July 2021 and February 2022 events and it is nice to be able to assist them where we can.”


further information please contact:

Group Manager Regulatory
Sean Judd