Families struggling with the impact of flooding in Whakatane now have somewhere to turn to help them cope with their emotional distress. Family Works Service Manager for the Bay of Plenty, Nicola Ssekajja, says the doors of the charitable organisation’s offices are open for people to pop in for a chat or some advice.
“It’s really hard for everyone – the whole of Edgecumbe, that’s 1,600 people from 600 homes, are being housed in emergency centres in Kawerau and Whakatane.
“With this second front that is coming through it has thrown things up in the air again for residents. Those who were planning to return home are now unable to do so.
“Animals are still missing. Evacuees have not been allowed to retrieve belongings and personal items.
“Right at the moment the focus is on short term physical needs but longer term there will be emotional needs of varying degrees.
“We are here to help the children and families of Whakatane,” she says.
A team of six qualified social workers and counsellors operate out of Family Works’ office in Whakatane and welcome anyone to come and see them, share their worries and get some practical advice on how to deal with their emotional distress. Ms Ssekajja urges locals: “If you want to come and have a chat and a cup of coffee we’re here for you. Come up and see us in Whakatane. Even if you just want to have a general chat about “what do I do with this…situation’. We’ll try and help in whatever way we can.”
Ring, email or drop by the Family Works office:
Phone: (07) 307 1133
8.30am – 5pm, 156 The Strand, Whakatane