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A year of Trans Tasman cooperation

Tuesday February 21, 2012

The anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake of 22 February 2011 marks more than 12 months of cooperation between Australian and New Zealand Red Cross societies as both countries have dealt with devastating natural disasters.

Head of International Programs, Donna McSkimming, said Australian Red Cross supported New Zealand Red Cross following the earthquake by sending aid workers and emergency equipment to Christchurch, advising on disaster recovery programs and running an Appeal in Australia that generated more than $8 million to aid relief and recovery efforts.

"Red Cross is a truly global movement, founded on principles of humanity and universality. Drawing on these principles we were quick to offer support to our New Zealand colleagues when they were in need. Likewise, when floods and Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland last year, New Zealand Red Cross sent emergency services specialists to assist our response," said Ms McSkimming.

Christchurch and surrounding areas were hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February last year, which affected tens of thousands of people and claimed 181 lives.

In response, New Zealand Red Cross established welfare centres that helped over 3,000 evacuees, distributed more than 270,000 litres of clean drinking water, visited 70,000 homes across Christchurch and registered over 50,000 people in the Emergencies Database. Australian Red Cross supported these efforts by deploying aid workers, supplying specialist water and sanitation equipment and launching an Appeal to raise funds for the affected communities.

"Australians were deeply affected by the news and images from Christchurch of the destruction wreaked by the February earthquake. We had a strong response to our New Zealand Earthquake Appeal, which generated in excess of $8 million in donations" said Ms McSkimming.

"We transferred $7.6 million raised from Australian donations to New Zealand Red Cross which has helped fund their recovery work and grants program. To date, Red Cross has distributed grants to 76,000 people impacted by the earthquake in New Zealand."

In the months following the earthquake, Australian Red Cross has shared the lessons learned about community recovery from recent major disasters in Australia, such as the Black Saturday bushfires, by advising and supporting New Zealand counterparts in their recovery program.

To support the every day work of Red Cross helping people prepare, respond to and recover from emergencies in Australia and around the world, please donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery at www.redcross.org.au.

Memorial events will be taking place in Christchurch to mark the anniversary of the earthquake and Red Cross representatives will be in attendance. For more information visit www.redcross.org.nz.

For more information please contact James Molan on 0448 571 484.

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