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Red Cross worker assures money will be well used

Kiwi Red Cross worker assures aid money will be well-used

A Kiwi Red Cross worker co-ordinating aid distributions in disaster-struck South Asia says New Zealanders donating to the Red Cross South Asia Tsunami appeal can be assured their money will be well-used.

New Zealand Red Cross delegate Douglas Clark is based at the South Asia Red Cross headquarters in Colombo, liasing with governments, the UN and other aid agencies to co-ordinate relief delivery in the region.

Speaking from Colombo today, Mr Clark says the generosity of New Zealanders has been staggering. The Red Cross South Asia Tsunami Appeal has so far raised around $2.5 million.

“My message to New Zealanders is that I can assure every Kiwi who has donated that your money is going to be put to good use, and that there is a phenomenal need for it,” Mr Clark says.

“We are seeing an enormous response to the appeal, which for us means a big responsibility to ensure that the aid is going to be appropriately distributed.”

Mr Clark says the work underway to meet the immediate needs of people affected by the earthquakes and tsunami is just at the tip of the iceberg.

“The rebuilding and recovery stage is going to be enormous because so much has been damaged, “ he says. “There are so many people who have lost their homes – in Sri Lanka alone we have 750,000 people who are going to bed tonight without their own roof over their head. The people we encounter at the moment are reasonably well accommodated in temples and schools but this is very temporary – they can’t stay there for long.”

The majority of donations to the Red Cross South Asia Tsunami appeal have been made through the 0900 31 100 appeal number, which accepts automatic $20 donations. Donations can also be made at www.redcross.org.nz, or at branches of the ASB, BNZ, Westpac, TSB, ANZ and National Banks and at all Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown supermarkets.

All money raised will go directly to providing relief, as the Red Cross takes no money from special appeals for administration costs.

New Zealand Red Cross is also continuing to operate an inquiry line for family and friends concerned about New Zealanders believed to have been in the South Asia area on Boxing Day. The 0800 RED CROSS number is continuing to receive about 50-70 calls an hour. About half of these calls are to inquire about family or friends or to report contact, and half have been to offer assistance.

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