NZ training support for White Helmets in Syria

  • Murray McCully
Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne have announced that the NZ Fire Service will provide training support to the Syrian White Helmets civil defence organisation.

“The Syrian Civil Defence Organisation, known as the White Helmets, have helped save thousands of people affected by the ongoing violence in Syria,” Mr McCully says.

“New Zealand has agreed to provide assistance with training to the White Helmets and this practical initiative sits alongside the work we are doing on the UN Security Council to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria and to push for an end to the conflict.”

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says a NZ Fire Service urban search and rescue expert will travel to Turkey and Jordan in the next month to help improve the training of White Helmet volunteers.

“We want to share New Zealand’s globally recognised expertise in urban search and rescue with the White Helmets, and show our support for a volunteer organisation which is doing remarkable work in badly damaged cities like Aleppo.

“This secondment of a NZFS training adviser is a welcome, practical and meaningful humanitarian contribution by New Zealand to the people directly affected by the appalling conflict in Syria,” Mr Dunne says. 

The training project will run for 4 months and begins around the end of October.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will contribute around $100,000 to the training project and this will bring New Zealand’s assistance to those affected by violence in Syria and Iraq to over $25 million.