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NZ funds helicopter to deliver food in Aceh

Hon Phil Goff - NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

28 January 2005

NZ funds helicopter to deliver food in Aceh

A helicopter funded by New Zealand's aid agency NZAID has begun delivering supplies from the United Nations World Food Programme to areas of Aceh still isolated after the tsunami, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

“The helicopter will enable the World Food Programme (WFP) to reach areas that are too remote or difficult to get to via road," Mr Goff.

"They will be able to make quick assessments of the situation on the ground and get food and other supplies to those areas where the need is greatest.

"The helicopter, a Bell 212, is owned by Jakarta-based National Utility Helicopter (NUH), which has strong links with New Zealand. It was contracted by NZAID for a month in early January and for the past three weeks has been carrying out relief work for various aid agencies in Banda Aceh.

“New Zealand is not the biggest player involved in tsunami relief efforts but initiatives such as this partnership between NUH, the government, and now WFP, allows us to make a very tangible contribution," Mr Goff said.

New Zealand contributes around $1 million annually to WFP, the world’s largest international food aid organisation, and provides food aid to 72 million people annually. Along with other UN agencies, it is playing a central role in the tsunami relief effort.

ENDS

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