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NZ Red Cross team depart for Pakistan

15 November 2005

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

NZ Red Cross team depart for Pakistan

A contingent of New Zealand medical staff is going to provide relief in the earthquake-affected northern region of Pakistan, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

“Reports coming out of Pakistan suggest the situation is still very serious. It is important that victims of the quake can get medical treatment before the severe winter season sets in.

“These medical staff – all trained nurses – will be stationed at Abbottabad, where a multinational Red Cross hospital is treating earthquake victims and helping prevent the spread of infection and disease.

“Up to ten delegates, from all over New Zealand, have left for or will travel to Pakistan in the next few days. The group range from experienced delegates to first-timers, and they will spend up to six months in Pakistan,” Mr Peters said.

The funding for this work will come from New Zealand’s $1.5 million contribution to the earthquake relief effort.

“The remainder of this assistance has been for the provision of shelter, medicines and other essential supplies in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

“NZAID, the Government's international aid and development agency, will also contribute a further $500,000 to the response through funding to the United Nations Joint Logistics Centre, which is working in Pakistan to coordinate and optimise the transport of supplies and people.

“The effort to help those affected is very challenging due to the scale of the disaster and the fact that the worst hit areas are mountainous and remote. The situation requires sensible and coherent logistics. Our contribution to UNJLC is a very tangible way a small country like New Zealand can assist,” said Winston Peters.

The large earthquake which struck the Kashmir region on 8 October is estimated to have killed more than 74,000 and an estimated three million people were left homeless.

ENDS

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