Iraq + 1 more

NZ aid for Iraq and Somalia

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New Zealand has pledged $1.4 million to assist people worst affected by ongoing conflict in Somalia and Iraq, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

Mr Peters said the government, through its aid agency NZAID, would provide a further $1 million to a recently established United Nations fund that supports immediate responses to reduce the impact of conflict and disaster.

"The situation in Iraq is fast becoming one of the most serious humanitarian crises of our time. Relentless violence has left large numbers of people displaced and dependent on external aid for survival," Mr Peters said.

"The government will contribute $700,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for the distribution of relief supplies and to assist with the protection of those displaced by the conflict.

"We are also contributing $700,000 to the United Nations Population Fund for their work in assisting over 2.1 million Somalis in critical need of help.

"Sixteen years of war, and the worst drought in over a decade, has resulted in widespread destruction and caused the disintegration of basic health and social services there.

"In these situations women and children are the most vulnerable and usually the hardest hit. Our contribution will go towards emergency health services for pregnant women and women with new-born infants," Mr Peters said.