Sunday, April 14, 2024

$5m pledged for humanitarian needs in Gaza Strip

The Government has announced it will contribute a further $5 million to support the response to urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, bringing New Zealand’s total contribution to the humanitarian response so far to $10 million.

“New Zealand is deeply saddened by the loss of civilian life and the grave humanitarian situation as a result of the conflict. New Zealand has repeatedly called for all parties involved in the conflict to act in accordance with international law,” said Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins.

“We strongly support the United Nations Security Council resolution passed on Thursday calling for full, rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, and to facilitate the provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip.

“Hostilities must stop to allow the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid and support to get to those in need. All parties must act to protect civilians and to allow access for humanitarian aid.

“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. International humanitarian law prioritises the protection of civilians, even in war, and the UNSC has expressed its particular concern for the harm that is being inflicted on children in this conflict,” Mr Hipkins said.

New Zealand’s latest humanitarian funding includes a further $2.5 million contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) response in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

ICRC’s response has so far included the deployment of a war surgery team and weapons contamination specialist to Gaza; the provision of urgently needed medical and water purification supplies; and efforts to facilitate the release of remaining hostages, monitor conditions of detention and re-connect families with missing relatives.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Grant Robertson said New Zealand will also increase its support to the World Food Programme (WFP), with a further $2.5 million contribution to its response. The WFP’s work in Gaza and the West Bank has included emergency food and cash assistance to over 764,000 affected people.

“Our funding will continue to go to international humanitarian partners that are reaching those in need. With a severe shortage of essential items, including food and medical supplies, the WFP and ICRC’s provision of lifesaving humanitarian assistance is critical,” Mr Robertson said.

“Both organisations will continue to expand their operations as conditions allow. They act with full independence and neutrality.

“New Zealand also recognises the bravery of humanitarians, including healthcare workers, working tirelessly in extraordinarily difficult circumstances and call for their protection. New Zealand is deeply concerned and saddened that humanitarian workers have died in the line of duty,” he said.

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