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Government boosts assistance to Indonesia

19 July 2001 Media Statement

Government boosts humanitarian assistance to Indonesia

New Zealand is providing $1.5m for humanitarian assistance in Indonesia’s crisis-torn provinces and sectors, Associate Minister Foreign Affairs and Trade Matt Robson announced today.

The New Zealand Official Development Assistance (NZODA) funding will be disbursed through UNICEF Maluku Islands post-conflict relief and rehabilitation initiatives, the United Nations Development Programme, and International Red Cross (ICRC) activities.

“Assistance will be directed to areas and communities in extreme need because of ethnic and sectarian violence, or severe economic and social dislocation brought on by the 1998 Asian economic crisis,” says Matt Robson.

"A priority is the acute needs of the half-million internally-displaced people of the Maluku islands group, commonly known as the Moluccas or Spice Islands. Displaced communities are vulnerable and subject to extreme stress. Host communities similarly have little local capacity to assist or cope with the influx of people. They need food, shelter, sanitation and basic health care now. Local authorities, NGOs and community groups are stretched and need help.

“New Zealand’s support enables basic needs to be met so Indonesian authorities and local people can work to prevent or limit further outbreaks of violence, and rebuild Maluku’s shattered economy and society.

"For Indonesia to develop into the peaceful and prosperous neighbour that New Zealand wants to see, regional neighbours, like New Zealand, must step in with assistance," says Matt Robson.

The NZODA programme for Indonesia is New Zealand's the largest Asian bilateral country programme, with $5.25m (humanitarian assistance included) budgeted this financial year. NZODA has supported UN and international NGO efforts in Maluku for the past two years.


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