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NZ gives $70,000 for Vanuatu cyclone relief

New Zealand gives $70,000 for Vanuatu cyclone relief

New Zealand is to give $70,000 to help with emergency relief in cyclone-affected parts of Vanuatu, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"The money will be used to put together 3,000 packages for those worst affected by Cyclone Ivy," Marian Hobbs said. "The packages will contain hygiene kits, matches, candles, water bottles, kitchen utensils and other items that will help people begin to pick up their lives."

The relief kits would be distributed through the New Zealand Red Cross as soon as possible, Marian Hobbs said.

The New Zealand aid allocation follows a request from the Vanuatu Government this morning that was based in part on an assessment carried out yesterday by an RNZAF P3 Orion. The Auckland-based crew flew a 14-hour mission over Vanuatu’s southern and northern islands and noted moderate to severe damage to villages in a 40km circle centred on the southwest of Ambrym Island. In this area, houses have lost roofs and trees and vegetation has been flattened, the Orion crew reported.

Other parts of Vanuatu appeared to be less badly affected by the 160km/h winds that struck on Thursday and Friday last week. The capital, Port Vila, escaped serious damage. Two fishing boats that sunk at their berths have now been removed and the port is open again.

No further RNZAF flights to Vanuatu are scheduled at present, and relief is being coordinated under a South Pacific disaster management agreement involving New Zealand, Australia and France. An Australian C130 Hercules has airlifted emergency supplies to Vanuatu today and France is sending a naval supply ship early next week. France is also providing a helicopter to help with relief and assessment work.

The $70,000 being supplied by New Zealand will come from the Emergency Management and Disaster Relief fund of the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).

For cyclone damage updates, visit http://www.mfat.govt.nz

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