NZ supports relief efforts in Middle East

Prime Minister Helen Clark today said that New Zealand is making a further $1.5 million contribution to humanitarian relief efforts in the Middle East.

“Following the major donor conferences for Lebanon and the Gaza in Stockholm last week, New Zealand will be making contributions of $750 000 to each of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for water and sanitation work in South Lebanon; and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) towards emergency health care in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT),” Helen Clark said.

“Our funding is a demonstration of New Zealand’s commitment to providing humanitarian assistance when and where it is needed most.

"The recent conflict in Lebanon has caused enormous loss of life, destruction, and damage. Providing immediate assistance to help with Lebanon's early recovery needs is essential and New Zealand is playing its part.

“New Zealand is also deeply concerned at the on-going deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the OPT, and in particular, the Gaza strip.

"Last week, United Nations official Jan Egeland said Gaza was a ‘ticking time-bomb’ and called for the international community to give generously to ease the situation of 1.4 million Palestinians living in severe hardship.

“New Zealand has a long track-record of working with the United Nations and we support the lead-role UN agencies are taking in delivering humanitarian assistance, and in recovery and reconstruction efforts.

"As is the case for all of New Zealand’s international aid, robust accountability mechanisms are built into the funding, which will be administered by NZAID, the government's international aid and development agency " Helen Clark said.