Aucklanders asked to look after each other in an emergency

Auckland Council and Airbnb are encouraging Aucklanders to work together in the event of an emergency and look after others in need.

The call comes on the first anniversary of an agreement between Auckland Council and Airbnb which enables Airbnb hosts to open their homes free of charge.

Airbnb's Disaster Response Program connects local residents who have been displaced - as well as emergency relief workers and volunteers who are coming in to assist - with local Airbnb hosts, who open their homes free of charge

“One of Auckland’s strengths is its fantastic, caring people. This partnership is a prime example of how communities can prepare to help look after each other and lend a helping hand to those in need during an emergency,” says Councillor Sharon Stewart, Chair of Auckland’s Civil Defence Committee.

Auckland Emergency Management activated Airbnb’s Disaster Response Tool in March this year providing more than 19,000 hosts with information about the shortage of treated water in Auckland following a series of storm events. 

“I am pleased to say Auckland continues to lead New Zealand with this first of its kind partnership with Airbnb. It gives Auckland an innovative, agile and scalable capability to better respond to large-scale natural disasters,” says John Dragicevich, Director Auckland Emergency Management.

“Time after time, following various disasters in New Zealand and around the world, I have seen the Airbnb community come together and help those in need by opening their homes,” says Head of Global Disaster Relief and Recovery Kellie Bentz.

Over the past few weeks, Airbnb has activated its Disaster Response Program in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These devastating storms have and will continue to impact millions of people in communities across the U.S and Caribbean. Combined, more than 1,000 homes have been offered to those in need.

“Here in New Zealand, we want to continue to give Airbnb hosts the information they need to ensure they are well prepared in case of emergency, and encourage them to consider opening their home if the event arises where temporary accommodation is needed to host survivors displaced or relief workers,” she says.

There are currently 29,000 Airbnb listings in New Zealand, including 9,000 listings in Auckland.

Auckland is susceptible to a wide variety of hazards including rare events such as volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, tsunami and earthquakes to more frequent events such as flooding, electricity outrages and fire.