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Red Cross, Pacific leaders prepare for cyclone season

Red Cross brings Pacific leaders together to prepare for cyclone season

The New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Advisory Group, met for the first time this week, to develop a disaster response plan for the upcoming Pacific cyclone season, which is forecast to be severe.

Tony Paine, Secretary General of New Zealand Red Cross, says the impact of climate change and a 70 per cent chance of El Niño predicted for the region, are likely to result in an increase and intensity of cyclones.

“We know cyclones will hit the Pacific over the next few months and the forecast is making us think about how we can be better prepared to combat the very real challenges facing the Pacific, which have very real impacts on the lives of its people.”

“This advisory group has been established because we work better together – not only with our partners in the Pacific, but with our Pasifika communities here in New Zealand,” Mr Paine says.

The advisory group is made up of leaders from Red Cross in New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and from the Pasifika community in New Zealand

Melino Maka, chair of the advisory group and Tongan community leader, says the group will provide important planning and partnership between Red Cross and Pasifika communities.

“In the past when a cyclone has hit, our communities have been somewhat left on their own. But now, we can work with Red Cross and Pacific Governments to address the needs of our communities and provide solutions together.”

“The ability to get cyclone relief to communities in the Pacific islands will be much easier and accessible with Red Cross,” Mr Maka says. @NZRedCross facebook.com/newzealandredcross

Emergency relief supplies have already been distributed to Red Cross National Societies throughout the Pacific and Red Cross warehouses in Auckland are stocked with additional supplies ready for the first tropical cyclone of the season to hit.

New Zealand Red Cross will also deploy aid workers to help to set up emergency and satellite based communications systems to ensure the right relief gets to the right people, as quickly as possible.

For more information contact:
Hanna Butler
Communications advisor
p: +64 27 8365529
e: hanna.butler@redcross.org.nz

ENDS