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Boost To Aid Budget Welcome, Oxfam Says

Oxfam welcomes today’s budget announcement that boosted vital aid funding to help people living in poverty and hardship across the world, but says there is an urgent need for more support to deal with coronavirus.

Oxfam New Zealand’s Advocacy and Campaigns Director Joanna Spratt said: “Oxfam called for the New Zealand government to protect its aid budget and we’re happy today’s announcement has reflected this. New Zealand aid helps keep our connections strong, and supports the health, social and environmental systems that families everywhere depend on to survive and thrive.

“Families here and across the world are struggling to escape this coronavirus and to survive the severe economic conditions brought on by lockdowns and suspension of goods and services across the world. Imagine doing this in places where there are no health clinics, safe water is several kilometres’ walk away, or you live in an overcrowded urban slum and now can’t earn the daily income you need to buy food.

“But we can do better. We are connected to what is going on overseas – we need to work together to get through this global health and economic crisis, or else the world will experience years of significant hardship and disease, faced mostly by those in humanitarian crises and living in countries without good health and social support systems.”

As one of the world’s financially prudent and least-indebted countries, Spratt said New Zealand has an important role to play in helping everyone recover together, here in New Zealand and in those countries who have so little with which to face the pandemic, to make sure we never again experience disruption as has been caused by this global pandemic.

“Now is the time to massively and rapidly reset New Zealand aid for the age of pandemics, and this should start with at least a $25 million boost to our global humanitarian support. It is now even more crucial that aid be expanded in future years as we will see vulnerable economies such as the Pacific struggle to build back after the coronavirus.”

Oxfam, alongside other international aid agencies, called for at least $25 million new and additional global humanitarian funding to help those living in the world’s harshest places – refugee camps and war zones. This was not seen in the Budget.

The UN recently renewed its Global Humanitarian Response Fund, including an expansion of the amount it requires to fund the Plan, from the initial US$2bn to a total US$6.7 bn. This reflects the fact that the coronavirus has now reached every country, and its worst effects are expected to hit those most vulnerable over the coming three to six months.

Oxfam is currently responding to the global pandemic in developing countries and in high risk areas such as refugee camps, partnering with local organisations to provide access to soap and clean water, promote good hygiene, and provide accurate information to communities on how to protect themselves against the virus. 

Donations to Oxfam’s response can be made at www.oxfam.org.nz.

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