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NZ aid for China following earthquake

Friday 16 May 2008, 12:52PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters

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New Zealand is giving $500,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to assist victims of the Sichuan earthquake, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.

“The full scale of this disaster is rapidly emerging, and it is important New Zealand does what it can to assist China to make the most effective response possible to this crisis,” Mr Peters said.

“While the Chinese government has reacted rapidly to the situation, rescue teams have not yet been able to reach areas closest to the earthquake’s epicentre.

“People in these towns and villages will obviously require basic humanitarian supplies such as shelter, water and food in order to survive. Utilising Red Cross channels will ensure our help gets to those most in need, as quickly as possible,” Mr Peters said.

Current figures suggest around 20,000 people have died, and 25,000 remain buried following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck on Monday. Chinese authorities fear the toll could reach 50,000.

New Zealand’s contribution will be made by the government’s international aid agency, NZAID, via the New Zealand Red Cross