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New Zealand to assist following hospital fire

27 September 2005

New Zealand to assist following hospital fire

New Zealand will provide US$50,000 to the Marshall Islands following a fire on the capital atoll of Majuro that destroyed a large part of the main hospital, including the pharmacy, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"Our international aid and development agency, NZAID, will fund replacement medicines and pharmaceuticals and cover the transport cost to the Marshall Islands," Marian Hobbs said. "Emergency supplies were flown in from America.

"It is important that the hospital replaces its medical supplies quickly. The best way New Zealand can assist is by helping the Ministry of Health replace vital supplies lost in the fire.

"Fortunately no lives were lost during the fire. Many patients were moved and are now being accommodated in hotels, while some intensive care patients were temporarily housed in government buildings and an undamaged part of the hospital.

"The medical supplies will be purchased mainly in the United States, though some will be sourced through an existing Auckland supplier.

"A functioning and well-supplied hospital is essential to any community and I hope our assistance will help provide peace of mind for the people of the Marshall Islands. The isolation of the Marshall Islands is an exacerbating factor and the hospital's loss impacts on the republic as a whole.

"The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has expressed its warm appreciation for New Zealand's prompt offer of assistance," Marian Hobbs said.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is located in the western Pacific and consists of two chains of 29 coral atolls and five low islands stretching several hundred miles from north to south. The population is estimated at 52,671.


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