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Long road ahead in tsunami-recovery effort

23 June 2005

Long road ahead in tsunami-recovery effort

New Zealand Red Cross has committed 13 aid workers to relief efforts in the six months since the Boxing Day tsunami and will progressively step up its contribution throughout a rehabilitation phase expected to span 10 years, Director General Andrew Weeks says.

“Our people have been working in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable but there will be no let-up,” Mr Weeks says. “New Zealand Red Cross will maintain a presence in South Asia for as long as it takes to ensure that people whose lives were shattered by the tsunami can return to living as normally as possible – with good quality shelter, health-care, food and water, sanitation, economic stability and improved disaster preparedness.”

New Zealand Red Cross continues to have six aid workers in tsunami-hit areas:

- Jerry Talbot of Hawkes Bay, Head of Delegation in the Maldives
- Bernice Chiam of Auckland , Water and Sanitation in the Maldives
- Canada-based Kiwi Robert McEwan, Logistics in Indonesia
- Peter Cameron of Christchurch, Deputy Head of Delegation in Indonesia (2nd tsunami mission)
- Judy Owen of Auckland, Health Care in Indonesia (2nd tsunami mission) - Alan Murphy of Christchurch, Air Operations in Indonesia Seven are back in New Zealand, after each completing one tsunami-relief mission:
- Douglas Clark of Dunedin, Field Assessment and Co-ordination in Sri Lanka
- Marion Picken of Wellington, Health Care in Indonesia
- Colleen Clarke of Taupo, Health Care in Indonesia
- Justine Rollitt of Hamilton, Health Care in Indonesia
- Graham Zinsli of Auckland, Health Care in Indonesia
- Justine Charman of Auckland, Health Care in Indonesia
- Janet Askew of Gisborne, Health Care in Indonesia

“New Zealand Red Cross is hugely grateful to New Zealanders who contributed so generously to enable us to send these delegates and the many more we will need to deploy to South Asia for years to come, at the same time as we support multi-lateral relief efforts through the International Red Cross,” Mr Weeks says.

To date about 22,000 Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff have provided direct assistance to more than one million people, and plans have been finalised for more than 1.5 billion Swiss francs (NZ$1.7 billion) in programmes for the rehabilitation of lives, livelihoods and economies in tsunami-affected countries.

These programmes, covering the key operational areas of relief distribution, shelter and housing, water and sanitation, rebuilding schools and health clinics, psycho-social support and volunteering will direct Red Cross Red Crescent operations in the affected region for the next five years.

“Thus far the Red Cross has eased suffering on a massive scale, thanks to the unprecedented support we have received from donors, “ Mr Weeks says.

“While there is still up to 10 years – or possibly more – of difficult work in front of us, the response to this emergency again shows us the spirit of volunteerism and a tremendous solidarity from all over the world.”

The New Zealand public has given about $13 million to the New Zealand Red Cross South Asia Tsunami Appeal and the Government, through its international aid and development agency NZAID, has given New Zealand Red Cross close to $9 million.

All money donated by the New Zealand public directly supports the appeal, as New Zealand Red Cross administration costs for special appeals are covered by income from Red Cross shops and first aid training.

ENDS

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