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More NZ aid for the Sudan

22 June 2004

More NZ aid for the Sudan

New Zealand is contributing a further $1 million to Sudan to help deal with what United Nation’s officials are calling one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

The New Zealand Red Cross and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organisation, will each receive $500,000 for their work in the Sudan.

Three weeks ago New Zealand contributed $2 million to the World Food Programme and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) operations in Sudan and neighbouring countries.

Several NZ Red Cross delegates including medical and logistics personnel are in Sudan right now. The funds will directly support their work, meeting the most urgent needs of conflict victims and ensuring sick and wounded people have access to medical and surgical treatment

Since the late 1970s MSF has responded to medical needs stemming from war, food crises, epidemics and other emergencies in Sudan. MSF has 217 international volunteers in the field including four New Zealanders.

Sudan is a country in a state of chronic crisis and over 4 million people have been displaced. The Sudanese population affected by the conflict in Darfur in the western part of the country urgently need shelter, access to water and sanitation and health-care, in addition food shortages are looming.

Unless immediate support is provided, the UN predicts a real possibility of a humanitarian catastrophe in Dafur and Chad with major implications for peace and security in the region and the prospect of tens of thousands of deaths.

ENDS

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