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Govt support for Indonesian earthquake welcomed

29 May 2006

New Zealand Government support for Indonesian earthquake welcomed, says NZ Red Cross

New Zealand Red Cross has applauded the New Zealand Government for its support for the thousands of Indonesians affected by the devastating May 27 earthquake.

New Zealand Red Cross will facilitate the transfer of $500,000 of funding from government aid agency NZAID through to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent for emergency relief efforts.

Acting National President Penny Mason says the New Zealand contribution will greatly assist the Red Cross in providing much-needed relief efforts to those affected, including the provision of food, shelter, water and sanitation, medical services and other relief items.

"New Zealand Red Cross commends and thanks the Government for its commitment to support the relief efforts of the Red Cross following the earthquake in Indonesia," Mrs Mason says.

"New Zealand Red Cross values the long-term support it has received from NZAID. Their funding helps us to deploy Kiwi Red Cross aid workers to areas affected by disaster, such as Indonesia."

Operations manager Andrew McKie says that there were three New Zealand Red Cross aid workers already based in Indonesia when the earthquake struck, due to tsunami reconstruction efforts, and preparation for the possible eruption of the Mt Merapi volcano.

Malcolm Johnstone, a relief delegate from Wellington, and Janet Askew, a health delegate from Gisborne, are currently on the ground in earthquake-affected areas. Deputy head of delegation for Indonesia Peter Cameron, from Christchurch, is helping to coordinate the international relief response from Jakarta.

An additional five Red Cross medical teams from other parts of Indonesia have arrived in the affected areas, bringing the total to ten Red Cross medical teams now on the ground providing aid.

Local Red Cross volunteers are continuing to deliver emergency first aid to survivors, and distribute food, bottled water, tents, tarpaulins and baby kits to the affected population.

Red Cross supplies and disaster relief staff were already stationed in the area when the earthquake hit, due to preparations for the possible eruption of the Mt Merapi volcano.

Local Red Cross volunteers and staff are also assisting overseas Red Cross and Red Crescent disaster experts from around the world to conduct a rapid assessment of the situation today. Results of the assessment will help to tailor emergency relief aid to the needs of the survivors.

Mr McKie says that local volunteers and staff play a vital role in relief efforts following a disaster.

"The Red Cross is able to draw on its network of local Red Cross volunteers and staff throughout the region to ascertain the needs of beneficiaries, and then ensure that those needs are being met," he says.

Kiwis can donate to Red Cross relief efforts in Indonesia by calling 0900 33 200 to make an automatic $20 donation, or online at www.redcross.org.nz.

New Zealand Red Cross will not deduct any administration from the donations, so that all funds donated will go directly to international Red Cross relief efforts.


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