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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Crowdfund for victims of Christchurch shooting reaches $4m

Christchurch's mayor said another fund would be created to support communities in the long term

Flowers and signs were laid at a memorial to victims of the mosque attacks near Linwood mosque in Christchurch. Reuters
Flowers and signs were laid at a memorial to victims of the mosque attacks near Linwood mosque in Christchurch. Reuters

Crowdfunding pages set up in response to Friday’s Christchurch terror attack had raised over 4 million New Zealand dollars (10 million) by Saturday afternoon.

At least 49 people were killed in the attack and dozens of others injured during Friday prayers at two mosques in the small New Zealand city.

Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel said the attacker’s ideology “was the voice of hate and the only way that communities can respond to the voice of hate is to come together in love, compassion and kindness”.

Supporters around the world chose to show their compassion in the form of donations to several crowdfunding pages.

One set up by the New Zealand organisation Victim Support and hosted on crowdfunding site Give a Little had raised 2.75 million New Zealand dollars from 41,025 donors.

Victim Support said the funds would be “ring-fenced” so they are only used to help the response to the attack. It aims to provide “support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members”

Such was the level of enthusiasm for the fundraising drive, the GiveALittle page went down in the early hours of the morning after a huge influx of visitors trying to give money.

Another page on Everyday Hero was reportedly set up after the technical difficulties knocked out the Givealittle website.

By Saturday afternoon it had raised over 92,000 New Zealand dollars.

On a separate page on LaunchGood had raised some 1.35 million New Zealand dollars, again for the families and victims. The funds will go to the New Zealand Islamic Information Centre, a charitable organisation that works in Muslim communities in the country.

In the comments left with donation amounts on the Givealittle website, the Hogg family donated “just a small token to express our sadness and support” for those killed and injured and their families.

Another donation from a user calling themselves Sinead read: “We stand with you. We love you. We are so sorry this has happened.

“RIP to those that have lost lives and Kia Kaha to the friends, families and Muslim community,” the user wrote using the Maori phrase meaning stay strong.

Ms Dalziel said more traditional fund would be announced shortly by the newly-formed Christchurch Foundation to support the community in the long term.

“It won’t just be for the immediate aftermath of what we’ve experienced in this city, but it will be about rebuilding communities, rebuilding what has been lost and ensuring that communities are able to be well supported into the future,” she said.

In a speech Saturday morning, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged people affected by the tragedy to avail of extra mental health services being provided by the government by texting 1737.

The outpouring of money was matched by a deluge of vocal support both online and offline around the world.

Blessie Hermandy, 19, stood outside Hagley Community College in Christchurch where victims and families of the attacks have been congregating. She put up posters to show her support.

"If you don't feel safe we will work with you. If you want company, we will visit. We will invite you to dinner," she told The National.

She said she had set up an online group called “I Will Walk With You” that had gained 450 members within hours. She said the aim of the group is to offer support for the victims and their families.

"Anyone can join. We want to help," she said.

Social Media users left countless messages of support and prayer for the victims and their families, and cities across the world lit up landmarks in the colours of the New Zealand flag.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company building was emblazoned with the New Zealand ensign in a show of support for those affected by the tragedy.

In Paris, the lights of the iconic Eiffel Tower were turned off completely.

Ms Dalziel encouraged locals to lay floral tributes at a specific area close to the Christchurch hospital and said the council would work with other groups to organise an event for residents to come together.

Updated: March 16, 2019 05:34 PM

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