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New Zealand to help El Salvador

New Zealand would make a contribution of $100,000 to the International Red Cross to support relief work following the weekend earthquake in El Salvador, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the earthquake was a disaster of significant magnitude with a reported death toll of 300, many missing and injured, and serious damage to services.

"The New Zealand grant will help the Red Cross mobilise immediate relief efforts in cooperation with El Salvadorian authorities. The Government has already sent a message of sympathy and condolences to the El Salvadorian President, on behalf of all New Zealanders."

The funds come from the New Zealand Overseas Aid Programme's disaster relief allocation. It will be channelled through the New Zealand Red Cross to the International Red Cross which has launched an emergency appeal for 1.1 million Swiss Francs (about NZ$1.5 million) to purchase food, blankets, tents and fresh water for people affected.

Mr Sutton said that at this stage no reports had been received of any New Zealanders being involved in the disaster but the New Zealand Embassy in Mexico City was seeking to confirm this.

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