More than 1000 donors give $40,000 to family burgled after tsunami evacuation video

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff.co.nz

A Christchurch family with a disabled daughter were burgled while evacuating after Monday's tsunami warning.

The Mill family continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of some after burglars ransacked their New Brighton home.

The family who evacuated due to tsunami warnings about 2.30am on Monday returned to find thousands of dollars of electronic equipment and their daughter's hearing aid device stolen.

But by 3.30pm on Tuesday, a Givealittle page set up for 12-year-old Alisha Mill and her family had reached more than $41,000.

Melissa and Matt Mill, with their daughters, Skyla, (in uniform) and Alisha, have been overwhelmed by the kind nature of ...
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Melissa and Matt Mill, with their daughters, Skyla, (in uniform) and Alisha, have been overwhelmed by the kind nature of many New Zealanders and people abroad.

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More than 1000 people had donated to the page, with amounts ranging from $10 to $200, from as far away as the United States and China.

"It doesn't change what happened within my home, but it does change our view on society," mum Melissa Mill said.

Melissa Mill tries to comfort Alisha.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Melissa Mill tries to comfort Alisha.

"For every one bad egg there are 100 good eggs.

"For something like this to happen reminds us that we are all only human."

The thieves took a GoPro camera and iPad, televisions, sports gear and a $5000 hearing device before taking off in Matt Mill's silver Mazda BT-50 ute, registration EPP79.

Burglars ransacked a Bower Ave home, stealing electronic and sports equipment during the tsunami evacuation.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Burglars ransacked a Bower Ave home, stealing electronic and sports equipment during the tsunami evacuation.

Alisha has FSHD, a form of muscular dystrophy, which affects her ability to walk and means she has some hearing loss. The stolen device transmits her teacher's voice to a hearing aid.  

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Melissa Mill said the family were still discovering new missing items and damage, including tampering with the ignition of her own work vehicle.

As husband Matt had needed the family's wheelchair van to get to work on Tuesday, that left her stranded at home, she said.

Matt Mill's work truck was stolen.

Matt Mill's work truck was stolen.

Visitors have also showered the family with donations and goodwill, including Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price and strangers.

"I had a man just come before and he didn't speak, he just handed me an envelope . . . I could see that he had a disability of his own but for him to come to my home was amazing.

"I gave him a big cuddle. I've cuddled everyone that's come here because they all seem so sad."

Melissa Mill said the usually private family still had not been able to return to normality on Tuesday.

Eldest daughter Skyla had returned to school to sit NCEA exams, but younger sister Alisha had remained home.

"[Alisha] is still at home. The door slammed before and she got a huge fright. She's still a bit on edge," said Melissa Mill.

Donations had almost tripled what the Mills estimated they would need to recover their lost items, so were working with Givealittle to find a solution for the remainder of the money.

"We're going to just cover costs where we need and if the general public and society and everybody, if they're happy with it, we'd like to help the other victims.

"[Givealittle have] updated the page and they've emailed all the donors . . . I really want it to be positive, I'm overwhelmed, I'm so happy and grateful for everybody."

The Mill family home was one of eight Christchurch properties, residential and commercial, targeted by thieves after a large earthquake triggered a tsunami warning on Monday.

Police responded to 19 burglary-related calls in total, but it was later established that 11 of these had taken place prior to the earthquake and evacuation.

"It is extremely disappointing that at a time when people are facing such a traumatic event and communities are coming together to support one another, there are others who are only interested in taking advantage," Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said on Monday.

"This sort of offending really scrapes the bottom of the barrel, especially for Cantabrians who have endured so much heartache in similar circumstances over the last five years."

 

 

 - The Press

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