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Red Cross opens donation line for Myanmar relief



7 May 2008


New Zealand Red Cross opens donation line for Myanmar relief operations

As the full extent of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis becomes more clear, thousands of Myanmar Red Cross volunteers and staff are working around the clock to reach and support those affected by the ferocious storm.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who estimates that as many as 1 million people have been affected by the disaster, has launched an emergency appeal to assist with the provision of emergency shelter kits, water, mosquito nets and other essential items.

New Zealanders who would like to help with the Red Cross emergency appeal can either:

Donate online at www.redcross.org.nz
Make an automatic $10 donation by calling 0900 33 200
Drop of their monetary donations at any New Zealand Red Cross office

Every cent of donations made to the appeal will be sent directly to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to assist with relief operations in Myanmar.

“In times of disaster New Zealand Red Cross asks for donations of money rather than goods for a number of important reasons”, says Andrew McKie, New Zealand Red Cross’ Operations Manager

“Money gives us flexibility as it can be instantly transferred and converted into whatever is most needed, anywhere in the world. This not only allows us to use our strong purchasing power to benefit the maximum number of people, it also allows us to adjust our response very rapidly to changing needs and priorities in the affected country.

“Monetary donations can allow us, where possible, to buy the relief items or equipment required in the affected country or in the surrounding region. This benefits the local economy, by helping local markets and traders, and allows us to take into account local tastes, traditions and culture more easily.

“Often the cost of transporting donated goods is more than the total value of the donation itself and can cause significant logistical issues for aid workers,” says Andrew McKie.  

Over the past days, Myanmar Red Cross volunteers and staff have been distributing basic relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, potable water and water purification tablets. Teams of volunteers have also been through some of the worst affected areas along the Irrawaddy delta, assessing damage and the immediate needs of communities.

Reports from the International Red Cross’ delegation in Myanmar suggest extensive devastation across the affected region. In some affected villages along the Irrawaddy river delta, 95 per cent of houses have been destroyed. While in Yangon access to running water and electricity has been severely limited.



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