Mosque attacks: More than 500 people receive support

6:00 pm on 27 March 2019

The number of people seeking psychological and financial support after the Christchurch terror attacks continues to rise.

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Photo: RNZ / Alex van Wel

More than 500 people who were directly affected are receiving assistance from Victim Support, while the Canterbury District Health Board has provided close to 500 counselling sessions.

Organisations provided an update to media this afternoon.

Twelve days on from the attacks, 21 people remain in hospital, including a 4-year-old girl in Auckland's Starship Hospital who remains in a serious but stable condition.

The Canterbury District Health Board said three of the 19 people in Christchurch Hospital remain in intensive care in critical conditions, down from four yesterday. Those who have been discharged from hospital are receiving ongoing healthcare in the community.

More than 6300 people have contacted the health board's free text 1737 counselling service, and as of Monday afternoon 475 counselling sessions had been provided.

ACC had received 102 injury claims and spokesperson Phil Riley said 53 of them involved gunshot wounds. It had also received 27 mental injury claims but turned down 12 as ineligible.

However, Mr Riley said the fact that new claims keep continue to come in is a reminder of "how important it is to continue trying to make contact with anyone who was hurt in the terror attacks."

More than 500 victims are currently receiving assistance from Victim Support, and chief executive Kevin Tso said that number is expected to keep growing.

One hundred and twenty four support workers are delivering pyscho-social support, practical assistance with day-to-day needs, navigational assistance to connect with services and support, information and advice, referral to and funding for counselling, as well as emergency financial assistance.

Mr Tso said the organisation had received more than $9 million in donations and paid $800,000 directly to victims.

"We're committed to an inclusive process around the distribution of funds that remain after immediate needs are met, so we're continuing discussions with community representatives about this on Friday, as well as seeking feedback directly from victims," he said.

Mr Tso is encouraging anyone directly affected by the attacks, who is not yet receiving support, to get in touch.

Another $159,000 has been distributed to victims by the Ministry of Social Development. Regional Director Shane Carter said they have been in touch with businesses in Linwood and Riccarton affected by the attacks, to see how they can help.

Meanwhile the number of emergency visa applications being received by Immigration New Zealand as a result of the attacks, is beginning to drop.

General Manager Peter Elms said to date, 182 visas have been granted to family members of victims.

"At some stage we are likely to review the necessity of that channel going forwards," he said.

He said Immigration New Zealand are now looking to Friday's memorial service in Christchurch, and working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure the smooth facilitation of official delegations into the service.

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