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NZ to support tsunami recovery in the Maldives

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2 March 2005

NZ to support tsunami recovery in the Maldives

New Zealand is to contribute $1.5 million to relief and reconstruction efforts in the Maldives, Foreign Minister Goff announced today during his visit to the Indian Ocean nation.

“Loss of life in the Maldives was thankfully low, but almost every island group was hit and the effect on housing, water and health services and tourism infrastructure has been severe,” Mr Goff said.

“New Zealand, through the government’s international aid agency NZAID, will provide $525,000 to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Disaster Volunteer Programme which will see 50 doctors accommodated in the Maldives for up to a year to assist with healthcare and medical services.

“Discussions are continuing with the Commonwealth Secretariat over reconstruction work worth a further $500,000.

“We are also providing $525,000 to a United Nations programme undertaking the priority work of repairing and rebuilding homes in communities shattered by the tsunami. The programme will also work at a national level on land-planning strategies that will help reduce the impact of future disasters."

Mr Goff said $20 million of the government’s $68 million tsunami aid package had been directed to UN agencies, many of which were active in the Maldives.

“It is also very pleasing to see a number of New Zealand NGOs, who received dollar-for-dollar funding from the government, are involved in tsunami relief and reconstruction projects in the Maldives.

"The Red Cross, for example, is working on one of the worst affected atolls of Laamu, providing temporary housing, electricity generators, work on restoring water and sanitation services, and counseling for those who lost their homes.

"To resettle people from islands which were completely destroyed, I also understand from speaking with Jerry Talbot, the New Zealander heading the Red Cross delegation in the Maldives, that they are planning to build two new towns on Laamu and Raa Atolls, which will include health centres, schools and mosques," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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