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Kiwi aid experts ‘working at home’ in Christchurch

New Zealand and other international emergency experts have been deployed to Christchurch to help with the disaster response. Usually they work across the world on humanitarian disaster management but since last Tuesday Christchurch has been their emergency focus.

Working under the umbrella group the Non-Government Organisation Disaster Relief Forum (NDRF), the agencies were on the ground shortly after the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck.

Group members operational in Christchurch include Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), cbm, Christian World Service (CWS), Oxfam, Rotary NZ, Save the Children, TearFund, and World Vision. Many of these agencies have enlisted the support of their international partners and local teams.

They have capacity and capability to offer expertise in the areas of disaster relief management and logistics, child protection, psychosocial welfare, water and sanitation, health, and shelter. They are already assessing mid to long-term needs. 

NDRF liaison, Christian World Service's Nick Clarke said he, like other members of the group, is used to responding to large-scale emergencies in countries like Pakistan and Haiti not in his hometown.

“New Zealand hasn’t seen a disaster of this scale for decades. The collective global grunt of the group means we can offer specialist help and advice from immediate disaster management through to recovery and psychosocial support.

“Working together will ensure activities are well coordinated and effective,'' he said.

For interviews with experts and other resources:

•    Jamila Homayun, NGO Disaster Relief Forum  +64 21 206 0634

Notes to editors:
International agencies are working as a co-ordinated group under the NGO Disaster Relief Forum to assist the government's earthquake response in an effective and meaningful way.  The NDRF is an autonomous sub-committee of the Council for International Development (CID) partially funded by MFAT.

3 March 2011