On Friday 30 July, the UC Student Volunteer Army (SVA) hosted its second camp of the year in Westport. Unlike most of the club’s camps, this one was based around an emergency response to the recent flooding in the West Coast region. The Christchurch-based volunteering group worked alongside the Buller Emergency Response Team and Westport Civil Defence to organise projects.
On Saturday 30 July, around 40 student volunteers vanned to the beach for a 6 km long beach cleanup, removing rubbish that had been washed up over the previous weeks. After the beach had been scoured clean, the Buller Emergency Operations centre gave student volunteers a tour of their facilities. This was a chance for the volunteers to learn the inner workings of an emergency response team. To finish an excellent day and in classic SVA camp style, a celebration bonfire was held on the beach.
On Sunday morning, work continued for some volunteers who stayed back to help move damaged furniture and belongings from water-logged homes to the Fill station before returning back to Christchurch.
It was amazing to meet the locals, and they were incredibly generous – the Buller Highschool Breakfast Club shared kai with the students in the mornings . Once again, Westport was a wonderful camp experience and the SVA hopes to return again someday!
The SVA’s community outreach camps were created to give volunteers an opportunity to make an impact in communities across New Zealand and explore regions outside of Christchurch. To find out when the next one will be, follow @uc_sva on the socials!!