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NZ C-130 to work with WFP In Afghanistan

17 December 2001 Media Statement

NZ C-130 to work with World Food Programme in Afghanistan


Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that the World Food Programme has accepted New Zealand’s offer of a C-130 transport plane to deliver humanitarian supplies into Afghanistan.

Helen Clark said that the plane would be deployed, with supporting personnel, in February 2002 for a period of up to six months.

“The New Zealand Defence Force has often played a valuable role in humanitarian relief in the past. The provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan is clearly a very high priority.

“The aircraft will assist the World Food Programme to deliver much needed food and other supplies to displaced persons and refugees,” Helen Clark said.

The aircraft, crew, and supporting personnel will assist with the movement of food and equipment, as well as of humanitarian aid workers, into Afghanistan from surrounding countries. The aircraft will be under the direction of the World Food Programme for the duration of the deployment. The aircraft will be painted white in the United Nations’ humanitarian air service livery during the operation.

Helen Clark said that the government was pleased to be able to make a practical contribution to the relief programme.

“The arrival of winter has placed increased pressure on the WFP and other agencies in the region to deliver food and supplies to hundreds of thousands of Afghans both in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries.

“Packages containing essential supplies such as blankets, quilts, sweaters, mats, plastic tarpaulin, coal, and food aid are designed to help destitute people survive the harsh winter months.”

New Zealand has already contributed $1 million to the United Nations’ consolidated appeal for Afghanistan; made $250,000 available to NGOs for emergency relief in Afghanistan; and now stands ready to make contributions to peacekeeping.

In London last week Helen Clark discussed the deployment of New Zealand Defence force personnel to the United Nations-sanctioned multi-national force proposed for Afghanistan.

“New Zealand is also informing the United Nations Security Council of its decision to join other states in the employment of military assets in Afghanistan in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In this respect New Zealand Defence Force C-130s will be providing logistical support in Afghanistan this week,” Helen Clark said.


ENDS


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