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Kiwis thanked on World Red Cross Day

6 May 2005 FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Kiwis thanked on World Red Cross Day

World Red Cross Day this Sunday, 8 May, will be a day of thanks for New Zealand Red Cross volunteers, workers and supporters.

“New Zealand Red Cross has achieved a tremendous amount already this year, due largely to the hard work of volunteers and workers and the support of thousands of generous New Zealanders. World Red Cross Day is an opportunity for us to say thanks," New Zealand Red Cross Director General Andrew Weeks says.

"Already this year New Zealanders have donated $11 million to the New Zealand Red Cross South Asia Tsunami appeal and about $800,000 to our annual appeal. As Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 181 countries celebrate World Red Cross Day, it is important that the day should not pass without recognising the support we receive locally.”

“All New Zealanders can feel proud of the help that they are enabling us to give to the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Since the Boxing Day tsunami, New Zealand Red Cross has deployed 11 experts to assist the relief effort:

· Douglas Clark - field assessment and coordination, Sri Lanka

· Jerry Talbot – head of delegation, Maldives

· Marion Picken – health, Indonesia

· Judy Owen - health, Indonesia

· Justine Charman – health, Indonesia

· Colleen Clarke – health, Indonesia

· Graham Zinsli – health, Indonesia

· Justine Rollitt – health, Indonesia

· Robert McEwan – logistics, Indonesia

· Alan Murphy – air operations , Indonesia

· Peter Cameron – deputy head of delegation, Indonesia

New Zealand Red Cross operated an emergency call centre after the tsunami on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and has supported the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to provide assistance to more than 840,000 of the worst-affected people, including relief distributions (food and non-food), shelter, preventative curative health care, water and sanitation, and psychological support.

“At the same time, New Zealand Red Cross has not lost its focus on other problems at home and overseas,” Mr Weeks says. “Work has continued to provide help to those most in need and assist with development and emergency preparedness in New Zealand and many other corners of the world.”

New Zealand Red Cross has maintained aid workers this year in Sudan, Liberia, the Pacific, Afghanistan, Belarus, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Meanwhile this year New Zealand Red Cross has:

· Delivered an estimated 300,000 Meals on Wheels

· Provided support to hundreds of refugees

· Issued an estimated 20,000 first aid training certificates

· Deployed an aid worker to assist with field assessment following cyclones in the Cook Islands

· Committed a water and sanitation specialist to assist with providing clean drinking water to schools in Fiji

· Carried out assessments in Fiji, Kirabati, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands with a view to developing the capabilities of Red Cross societies in those countries

· Committed $30,000 to help fight Avian bird flu in Vietnam.

“The efforts by all our volunteers, workers and supporters that have enabled all this vital work to take place cannot be underestimated,” Mr Weeks says. “Every individual who has supported us has helped to make a difference where it really counts.”

Ends

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