Iraq + 3 more

$5.9 million for victims of conflict

Acting Foreign Minister Helen Clark today announced that $5.95 million has been allocated from within the budget of NZAID to help fund responses to humanitarian emergencies in Iraq, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Sudan, and Somalia.

"Responding to humanitarian need, whether arising from natural disasters or conflict, is one of New Zealand's obligations as a good international citizen," Helen Clark said.

"In Iraq an estimated 2.2 million people are internally displaced and two million refugees have fled into neighbouring countries due to ongoing armed conflict at home. New Zealand will contribute $1 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and $1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for programmes which provide for basic human needs to be met including access to education and health services, water sanitation, and food; and assistance with resettlement.

"Support for the Occupied Palestinian Territory will total $1.5 million and will be delivered through United Nations agencies operating in the region. Currently seventy per cent of households in the occupied territory rely on aid. They have limited access to basic supplies and services, and are facing increased violence and casualties.

"In the Darfur region of Sudan, the humanitarian situation remains grave and the needs of the civilian population are high. Increasing levels of violence have left 4.3 million people displaced or vulnerable, and there are increasing levels of hunger and malnutrition. New Zealand will contribute $750,000 to ICRC to protect and assist victims of the conflict, and $700,000 to the World Food Programme.

"Somalia is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis described by the United Nations as the worst in the country in 17 years. Armed conflict has triggered massive population displacement, which has been compounded by drought, runaway inflation, and high food prices. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are facing life-threatening food and water shortages, and 3.2 million are in need of urgent assistance. The ICRC is one of the few agencies operating in Somalia. New Zealand will contribute $1 million to its response to the crisis.

"In all these cases the humanitarian emergencies are either caused or deepened by armed conflict. The support provided through NZAID to areas affected by conflict helps ensure basic supplies and services for distressed peoples," Helen Clark said.