Thursday, April 18, 2024

Further $3m for quake victims

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, David Parker, has announced further humanitarian funding and specialist technical assistance to support relief efforts in Türkiye and Syria.

“It is clear the earthquakes have been devastating for the people of Türkiye and Syria. New Zealand’s thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those affected,” Mr Parker said.

“Building on our initial contribution, we will contribute a further $3 million in humanitarian funding to support response efforts on the ground.”

He said $2 million will be delivered through the World Food Programme (WFP) in Türkiye, providing immediate relief for displaced families.

“With tens of thousands displaced and food supply chains disrupted, our contribution will support WFP to deliver vital food assistance to communities including family food packages and supporting the operation of soup kitchens.”

A further $1 million will go to support the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) response in Syria. UNICEF is providing health, nutrition, education and psychosocial support to children and young people affected by the earthquake.

In addition to these new financial contributions, two Fire and Emergency New Zealand information management specialists are working to assist with the coordination of international search and rescue efforts on the ground in Türkiye, said Mr Parker.

“These individuals are working out of New Zealand as part of an international team. Based on advice from search and rescue personnel supporting the response coordination in Türkiye, our teams determined that they could effectively contribute remotely. Time zone differences mean this team can provide round the clock support for the response in Türkiye,” he said.

“The team can process data gathered by responders on the ground, which is especially valuable due to connectivity issues in affected sites. This helps to inform the operating picture for responders in Türkiye each morning.

“Fire and Emergency New Zealand is already responding to ongoing domestic emergencies following the extensive flooding in Auckland, and preparing for Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, so I am pleased they are able to contribute to this international effort as well.

“We continue to follow the response on the ground closely and will assess further requests and opportunities to assist,” Minister Parker said.

Today’s announcement brings New Zealand’s total humanitarian funding for the emergency earthquake response to $4.5 million.

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