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New Zealander part of UN team supporting Philippines


Media Release 4 December 2012

New Zealander part of UN team supporting Philippines

New Zealander Graeme MacDonald is one of the seven-strong United Nations team deployed in the Philippines ahead of Tropical Cyclone Bopha (known in the Philippines as Super typhoon Pablo).

Mr MacDonald is manager of the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and has been deployed as part of a specialist United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) team.

The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, John Hamilton, said the Philippines’ Government requested UNDAC support - such teams are only deployed when requested. Their role is to work with the country’s emergency management agencies and government to plan and manage international support.

UNDAC teams are highly trained, able to deploy within 24 hours, and must be self-sufficient so they do not burden the country affected by a disaster. They provide their own telecommunications, shelter, food and other resources as needed.

This team is made up of Mr MacDonald, two UN staff, and emergency management personnel from Denmark, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

New Zealand has nine people trained to be deployed in UNDAC teams.

Maintaining strong international links is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. Few, and probably no, countries in the world can respond on their own to a major, national disaster.

Mr Hamilton said that the Ministry’s international aims are to:

be a good global citizen by supporting other countries facing a major disaster, particularly our neighbours in the Pacific and Asia
ensure that, should New Zealand ever need it, we would receive international support quickly
increase our own ability to respond in New Zealand by learning lessons from other countries and international exercises.

ends

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