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Community meeting assists customers following the February storm

The team from the Earthquake Commission (EQC) met with West Coast residents at an information session in Westport yesterday to discuss what support EQC can provide following the recent storm in the area.

The session was organised by the West Coast Regional Council and held at the NBS Theatre, was the first of three being held this week. The next is today in Hokitika and then Saturday morning in Franz Josef. 

EQC spokesperson Renée Walker says that having staff attend the sessions is a great way for EQC to work with councils and other organisations and provide claim information for local residents. 

“Many people across the West Coast may not have lodged an EQC claim before and be unaware what they may be entitled to. The sessions are an opportunity for EQC’s team to explain the claim process and what support is available and people can ask questions and be provided with information specific to their own needs. 

“Some customers may not have all the information as to the damage to their property, but they should still lodge a claim with EQC and we will work with them through the process.”

There have been 49 claims lodged with EQC for the South Island so far following the February storm from across the country. EQC is encouraging anyone whose property has suffered damage to lodge a claim. 

Ms Walker says it was important that local communities understand how they are covered by EQC in a natural disaster. EQC is working with the regional and district councils to provide information how it can help the affected communities.  

“We have a team in place to assist people and the information sessions give us a valuable opportunity to meet with customers and support the community.

“We encourage people to attend the next two sessions, in Hokitika and Franz Josef, and talk to EQC and representatives from private insurance organisations and any agencies also attending.” 

EQC covers storm or flood damage to the land around a home. Private insurers cover storm or flood damage to the home and contents. EQC also covers landslip damage to the home, land or contents. 

There is still time to lodge an EQC claim within three months of the damage occurring and the priority after any event is for local residents to look after themselves, their families, and friends and take stock of what’s happened to their properties. 

Claims can be lodged online here, via email on info@eqc.govt.nz, or by calling 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243). The EQC call centre is open 7am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 6pm on Saturdays and more information is available from the Cyclone Fehi advisory

EQC Media: David Miller, 029 978 6430, dmiller4@eqc.govt.nz

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