Christchurch is still coping with the shock and crisis of the Friday's mass shooting with several bodies and organisations making their effort to provide as much assistance to the community there affected by the cowardly attack.
The focus now, however, has receded to assisting the families of the dead to start the burial process, which is an immediate requirement as per Islamic requirements.
A lot of the families of the victims are and will be required to travel from overseas to see their loved ones for the last time and conduct the burial ceremony which has to be done as early as possible. For those injured, many families will be travelling both from domestic and international borders to unite with their loved ones.
Mehboob Khokhar (Centre) with his family in an old image (Image Source: Ahmedabad Mirror)
Different support groups and relief work initiatives have been started to provide every possible support to the victims and the families involved in this national tragedy.
Once such initiative has been taken by The High Commission of India in Wellington that has set up a ‘Support Group’ on the ground in Christchurch to assist with the families of the victims present there and also for the families from India who are travelling to conduct the burial ceremony of their loved ones here.
Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Hon Consul Bhav Dhillon said, "a group also has been set up by High Commissioner as now families are coming from India and support is needed on the ground for burial and providing other assistance and care".
For assistance, families can contact Dr S.Sachdev 021476453, Dr A.Puri 0211218407, Dr V.Singh 0212371087, Mohiuddin 211280040, Dr Diwaker 0273291026, H.Reddy 0274922601.
In the wake of this unprecedented event, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has come forward providing priority processing for the families of the people killed or injured in the mass shooting so that they have hassle-free travel to New Zealand and meet their loved ones or conduct their last rites here.
“Immigration New Zealand has priority processing for the families of the people killed or injured in the mass shooting at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch. We recognise this is a difficult time and will process your visa application with urgency.
“If you or your family are victims of the mass shooting, and are seeking New Zealand visas urgently, please follow these steps to apply for a visitor visa,” INZ News and Notification page read.
Follow the link to Immigration New Zealand website:
“You may also wish to contact our contact centre on a dedicated number 0508 22 52 88 (within New Zealand) or +64 9 952 1679 (for international callers), or your country’s foreign affairs office or ministry if you need further assistance,” the INZ Page further read.
Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Daljit Singh from Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand (Takanini & Otahuhu Gurudwara) said that the members from the Supreme Sikh Society are already present in Christchurch since yesterday providing necessary support to the victims, families and the community present there.
A special prayer service for the victims of Friday's mosque mass shooting held at Takanini Gurudwara (Image Supplied)
“Our team members have set up a camp there providing food, snacks, and all the other necessary support required by the community at this hour of tragedy,” Mr Singh said.
“We have already raised over $25,000 for the victims and the community in ChCh can get in touch with us for any help needed. Our volunteers Arvinder Singh 022 025 5990, Tarandeep Singh 022 049 1964, Jaspreet Singh 021 082 64722 can be contacted for any assistance needed there,” Mr Singh further added.
Supreme Sikh Society also conducted special prayer sessions in its Gurudwaras for the souls departed in the mass shooting. More than a thousand community members comprised of men, women and children turned up for the prayers services in the last two days.
Other organisations such as Sikh Sangat NZ has also come forward by setting up a ‘Free Seva Camp’ with its volunteers devoting their time and efforts to extend its full support to all members of the Christchurch community who are in need.
“Sikh Sangat NZ Trust extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of our Muslim brothers and sisters who have lost their lives in this act of horror. In this difficult time, our heart goes out to them,” the spokesperson from Sikh Sangat NZ told The Indian Weekender.
“The camp is set-up to offer Free Food and Transportation in Christchurch, Temporary Shelter, Emergency Clothing, Blood Donation and financial help with Repatriation and/or Funeral Services. We can also help you financially in arranging any urgent travel arrangements for immediate family members too,” the spokesperson said.