Thousands of vulnerable people being contacted

8:11 pm on 23 February 2011

Work and Income is contacting 14,500 elderly, disabled and vulnerable people in Canterbury who may be alone, distressed or injured following Tuesday's earthquake.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says 5333 calls have been made by the end of business on Wednesday. Of those, Work and Income staff have managed to get hold of 1344 people.

She says Work and Income staff can't get around the city physically yet, so phoning in the first instance is a matter of urgency.

Ms Bennett says of those contacted, two required emergency help, 11 needed home visits, 24 were referred to Welfare Centres and the rest were either going to stay with family and friends, or were fine where they were.

She says one man in his eighties had suffered injuries in a fall and said he didn't want to be a bother to anyone, but Work and Income staff arranged to get him to a doctor.

Ms Bennett says many others are distressed and scared, and have needed comfort and reassurance.