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Red Cross Aid Workers Complete 53 Missions Last Year



27 February 2013

Red Cross Aid Workers Complete 53 Missions Last Year

New Zealand Red Cross aid workers completed a total of 53 overseas humanitarian missions in the 2011/2012 financial year.

In total 42 Kiwi aid workers, with specialties ranging from health, to water and sanitation, logistics, security and disaster response were deployed.

Their most common area of expertise was health – with missions completed by a surgeon, several nurses, a physiotherapist, and experts in first aid and community health.

The aid workers were deployed to 24 different countries, with the majority of placements within the Asia-Pacific region. However there were also deployments to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, South Sudan, Libya and other regions of Africa.

The most serious security incident during the 2011/2012 year involved Christchurch intensive care nurse Rebecca Barrell, whose mission to Kandahar, Afghanistan, ended early when security was compromised by the presence of an undetonated IED within the hospital grounds where she was working.

Other aid workers currently working in challenging situations include Porirua nurse Graham Duggan, who was forced into lockdown in Kabul at the end of last year due to fighting nearby, and Auckland security delegate Josh Herron, whose job involves regular travel in and out of the war-torn country of Mali.

The New Zealand Red Cross aid workers programme has been running since 1960 with the support of Government. It costs $2.2 million a year – about half of which comes from the New Zealand Aid Programme.

New Zealand Red Cross International Operations and Emergencies manager Andrew McKie says Red Cross values and appreciates the New Zealand Government’s contribution, without which the programme would not be possible.

“Although much of our work is focused on the Pacific, working in other countries gives our people valuable skills which they can then use closer to home,” he says.

New Zealand Red Cross aid workers were recently deployed to Samoa during Cyclone Evan and assisted in Christchurch during the earthquakes.

New Zealand is one of the largest providers of health aid workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in conflict zones.

In the year to June 2012 New Zealand also provided aid workers to coordinate security for operations in the Middle East, and the Sahel, West Africa, and provided health workers for humanitarian operations in Syria.


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