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Community rallies to help Papatoetoe residents affected by tornado

Thousands of food parcels delivered, dozens of homes secured, and a funeral procession paid for, all out of the goodness of some local residents' hearts.

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A number of community groups have rolled up their sleeves to pitch in with South Auckland’s tornado clean-up efforts. Source: 1 NEWS

The clean up continues days after a deadly tornado tore through the Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe, with 62 homes now deemed uninhabitable.

Many volunteers have taken to the streets over the last few days, securing houses, combing through the debris and distributing food.

Sulendra Raju from All in one Builders got around 60 of his workers to help cover almost 70 roofs and fix over 20 fences since Saturday morning, all for free.

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"When we found out the incident has happened we closed all our business just to help people secure their houses, at least they can live in the house."

They're even planning to help some families to rebuild their homes free of charge.

"People are still calling us and I still send my boys around to help them. Some don't have insurance so we're going to help them as well. It's not about money," Raju said.

Other community groups also rolled up their sleeves to pitch in.

Dozens of members of The Supreme Sikh Society have been going door to door, cleaning debris, talking to residents, and delivering over 1000 food parcels since Saturday morning.

"The basic principle for sikhism is to help others, share with others, and the food is one of the important part of the religion to help with. In this difficult time everybody needs to stand with each other and we really want to connect with the wider community," Daljit Singh, president of the Supreme Sikh Society, said. 

The Fiji Girmit Foundation NZ also pitched in by distributing hot food packs made generously by local restaurants in South Auckland.

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A number of community groups have rolled up their sleeves to pitch in with South Auckland’s tornado clean-up efforts. Source: 1 NEWS

Krish Naidu, president of the Fiji Girmit Foundation, said for many in this community with families back in Fiji now suffering from the growing Covid-19 pandemic, this is a "double whammy".

"It's really sad because a lot of people here are sending money to Fiji every week to help their families out and now they're kind of stuck," Naidu said. 

And the border closures are making it even harder for the families in Fiji who have lost a loved one here.

Janesh Prasad died in the freak accident while working at the Ports of Auckland container yard in Wiri.

More than $70,000 has been raised through Givealittle for Prasad's wife and kids.

Naidu said they're "expecting a big crowd on Wednesday for the funeral".

Thanks to Sam Achari from Ann's Funeral Home, the costs of this farewell have also been covered. One less thing to worry about for the family., which "needs all the moral support they can get", Naidu said. 

All these good Samaritans are giving the community all they've got, as this mammoth clean up job begins.