New Zealand doubles Pakistan earthquake aid

  • Marian Hobbs
Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand is doubling its aid contribution for Pakistan earthquake relief, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said today. A further $750,000 to international relief efforts will take the total contribution to $1.5 million.

"The seriousness of the situation in Kashmir and the northern regions of Pakistan continues to grow," Marian Hobbs said. "Latest estimates are that upwards of two million people are homeless and this is all happening as winter sets in.

"We made an initial contribution of $750,000 and now that the United Nations appeal has been launched we can clearly see where New Zealand can help, so the time is right to increase our contribution.

"The international response has really swung into action in recent days with approximately $300 million pledged. Shelter, medicines and other essential supplies are the current focus of the relief effort and this is where we would like our contribution to be spent.

"At the moment we are focussing on the humanitarian needs of the survivors, but just like the work now going on across the Asian region following the Boxing Day tsunami, recovery from this terrible earthquake will be a long-term process.

"I would like to acknowledge the great work of the New Zealand NGO community which has been fundraising since the disaster struck. New Zealanders have been asked to dig into their pockets many times this year but our generous spirit continues to come through," Marian Hobbs said.

Pakistani television gave prominent coverage to New Zealand's quick response to the disaster and the messages of condolence from the Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

On Monday New Zealand also made a $250, 000 contribution to relief efforts in Guatemala and El Salvador following Tropical Storm Stan.