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Kiwi Red Cross Aid Worker To Help Quake Victims

Kiwi Red Cross aid worker to help those affected by the South Asia earthquake

New Zealand Red Cross nursing delegate Marion Picken flies to Pakistan tomorrow to help treat those affected by the recent major earthquake in South Asia.

At present, there is a major need for medical assistance in the affected areas, Ms Picken says.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and authorities estimate 65,000 people have been injured and some 50,000 remain untreated.

“The need is huge, and the Red Cross is responding to that,” Ms Picken says.

Ms Picken, who works as a nurse at Wellington Hospital, takes with her the experience of five overseas nursing missions for the Red Cross.

Her experiences on her most recent mission, which was nursing in a field hospital in Banda Aceh after the tsunami, may prove extremely valuable.

“In Pakistan I will be working in a small surgical team, or in a large field hospital like the one I worked at in Aceh,” Ms Picken says.

New Zealand Red Cross Director General Andrew Weeks says that funding is critical to ensure that vital assistance reaches earthquake victims.

“Thousands of survivors are still living in the open in very cold night temperatures, some with open or gangrened injuries and with little access to clean water,” Mr Weeks says.

“While New Zealanders continue to be incredibly generous to those affected by major disasters, there is still a major need for assistance, which will continue for months to come.”

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Several other Red Cross aid workers are also on standby, ready for deployment to areas affected by the earthquake.

“Marion is possibly the first of several delegates we will send, as part of an ongoing commitment to helping those affected,” Mr Weeks says.

After further assessing the situation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent has raised its appeal to NZ$80.1 million, to aid a targeted population of 500,000 beneficiaries.

So far New Zealanders have donated over $80,000 to the appeal.

Donations to the South Asia earthquake appeal can be made by calling 0900 33 200 or on-line at www.redcross.org.nz.


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