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Bird-flu fears bring people closer

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  • Bird-flu fears bring people closer

    Bird-flu fears bring people closer

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    The threat of a deadly flu pandemic is a key factor driving the largest increase in neighbourhood support groups seen in Christchurch.

    About 170 new groups were set up last year, taking the total to over 1900 in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

    Neighbourhood Support coordinator Patrick Creasey said the increase was partly due to concern about crime, civil defence emergencies, and bird flu.

    "It's the biggest increase we've had ever."

    Leaflet drops in neighbours' letterboxes following burglaries had also helped, he said.

    Support groups remained scarce in low socio-economic suburbs and high-rental areas.

    Hospitals, GPs and pharmacies are likely to be overwhelmed during a pandemic, leaving many to fend for themselves.

    Creasey was now collating a central database listing contact details for two people in each neighbourhood support group so members could be mobilised during a flu pandemic.

    Canterbury University associate history professor Geoffrey Rice said his research into the 1918 flu pandemic in New Zealand showed communities which organised themselves early had the lowest death rates.

    Sick people, especially those who lived alone, could have their lives saved by their neighbours, he said.

    "You can't be responsible for everybody in your street but you can get to know your neighbours on either side and the three opposite."

    Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) chief medical officer Nigel Millar said neighbours should at least get each other's phone numbers.

    The CDHB said a pandemic plan could consider:

    Who could help with food and supplies if you and your household are sick?

    Who could help with renewing prescription medicines before they run out?

    The telephone numbers of people who live near you and your doctor's telephone number.

    An emergency supply kit containing enough food and drink for a week, plus paracetamol or ibuprofen, masks, tissues and plastic bags for used tissues, and activities (such as games and books).

  • #2
    Re: Bird-flu fears bring people closer

    Contacting Neighbourhood Support