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NZ to contribute to Caribbean hurricane relief

13 October 2004

NZ to contribute to Caribbean hurricane relief

New Zealand will contribute NZ$200,000 in disaster relief to the hurricane-plagued Caribbean, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"The series of hurricanes that struck the Caribbean recently, inflicted terrible human suffering and physical damage and we want to help those affected," Marian Hobbs said. "Damage and relief needs are huge, but we can make a difference by contributing to the broader international effort."

NZAID, the official International Aid and Development Agency will make the contribution to the United Nations Office for the Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) flash appeal for Haiti and the UNICEF Regional Appeal. Each appeal will be given $100,000.

The appeals will fund relief efforts by UN Agencies for Haiti (US$32 million) as well as Grenada, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic and a number of other Caribbean countries who were all affected by the unprecedented series of storms.

"The relief efforts will focus initially on delivering nutritious food to victims, many of whom have no access to cooking facilities, and restoring water and sanitation facilities," Marian Hobbs said.

Other rehabilitation efforts will include rebuilding the hospital, schools and other state buildings that have been badly damaged or destroyed.

Haiti, the poorest country in the region, has been the hardest hit. Gonaïves, one of the main cities, was devastated by Tropical Storm Jeanne, which hit on September 18.

According to the official figures, 1514 died, 952 are still missing, and 2600 were injured. The total number of people affected in Haiti is estimated to be 298,926.

"New Zealand understands only too well how natural disasters can wipe out hard-fought economic gains in small Island countries," Marian Hobbs said. "We saw the effects of Cyclone Heta on Niue this year. These small island states, whether in the Pacific or the Caribbean, are particularly vulnerable and we need to keep the world focused on their needs."

ENDS

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