Update from the Student Volunteer Army

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) continues to fight the effects of the quake on three fronts – bringing normality back to Christchurch’s battered communities.

Published: Rātū, 01 Poutūterangi, 2011 | Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Below is an update from the Student Volunteer Army from 28 February.

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) continues to fight the effects of the quake on three fronts – bringing normality back to Christchurch’s battered communities.

Once again a Battalion of more the 1100 volunteers in 21 buses continued working to clear silt. Today the focus was on Dallington, though two buses diverted to Aranui to tackle specific projects. SVA field team leader, Sam Johnson is pleased with progress.

“The army is in good spirits. After a morning of hard work on the shovels and barrows, we had a community lunch in the sun at Avondale Park. Thanks to the donations provided by our generous supporters, we were able to feed many Avondale residents as well as the volunteers in our army.

“We still need Bobcats and Dingo Diggers, so if anyone is able to donate those, we will be able to progress more quickly and clear the streets before the silt is carried by strong norwest winds predicted over the next few days.

“In the second part of our work, 315 Squadrons have registered with SVA so far. These are groups of three to five people, with their own transport and equipment, who we assign to jobs coming in from across the city. We have over 2000 jobs registered so far and are working through these at a rate of 180 to 230 per day.

The third operation, Street Team, an innovation inspired by Te Puni Kokiri, aiming to provide face to face information in those parts of the eastern suburbs still without power, where other forms of communication are not working. SVA head quarter’s team leader, Louis Brown, says over the past two days we have delivered 80,000 fliers in areas that are difficult to reach because of the damage that has been done. “We are being extremely well received by people who are otherwise unaware of the help on offer,” says Louis.

“This part of the operation is about providing information and listening. As a result of what people are telling us, the information offered over the next few days will be more detailed. We aim to have 120 people out tomorrow as part of these teams, looking to distribute a further 70,000 fliers in the hard hit suburbs of Bexley, Opawa, Woolston, South Shirley, Heathcote Valley, and Aranui through the rest of this week.

“We are hugely grateful for, and humbled by, the incredibly generous support of individuals and corporates who continue to assist with donations of equipment, food and cash,” he said.
In the past 36 hours, 1200 people have registered to help online on the SVA website, www.sva.org.nz, including approximately 500 with specialist skills. SVA is collaborating with Civil Defence, which is able to log in to this database. More than 23 000 people have now joined our online network.

Volunteers wanting to take part in the Army do not have to be students, but do need to have some identification. Daily muster for the Student Volunteer Army is at the UCSA car park, 90 Ilam Road between 9 and 10am. A marquee has been erected to house and cater for volunteers. People of all ages and abilities, including those unable to wield a shovel, will be welcomed with open arms.

Further information:
Media phone 021 47 01 01
Or email media@sva.org.nz