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NZ responds to Bangladesh floods emergency

10 August 2004

New Zealand responds to Bangladesh floods emergency

New Zealand will help get clean water, functioning sanitary conditions and shelter to the some of the 25 million people affected by the floods in Bangladesh, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

NZAID, the government’s aid agency will contribute $300,000 to the Bangladesh floods emergency.

“Safe drinking water is scarce; two-thirds of Dhaka, the capital, is submerged under polluted floodwaters. So the first priority must be clean water,” Marian Hobbs said.

The flood situation in the country is being described as the worst in 17 years. The prognosis is grave and further deterioration is expected.

Reports indicate 35 of the country’s 64 districts in the northern, north-eastern and central part of the Bangladesh have been affected. Over 1.4 million people have taken refuge in flood shelters, and more than 450 people have died. There has been extensive damage to road and rail links across the country and other infrastructural damage.

UN agencies and NGOs have been mobilised to assist with the humanitarian effort. Some $150,000 of New Zealand’s aid will be directed to the international emergency appeal launched by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Their focus is getting clean water, sanitation and shelter to flood victims.

A further $150,000 will go to New Zealand NGOs to support their work with partners on the ground. NZAID will work with the New Zealand NGO community to fast track the allocation of these funds so they can get down to the job of helping the flood victims.

Bangladesh suffers annual flooding caused by monsoon rains and melting ice from the Himalayas. This year’s floods are exceptional due to their intensity and impact on the population.

ENDS


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