Newsletter, News

CID Weekly: Rohingya fire, Cooks Bubble, Myanmar

Posted on 30 March 2021

Development & Humanitarian News

+ Vaccine roll out dashboard 

Countries below 0.05 are not shown in the table above. This includes Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Oceania includes all countries in the Pacific, including New Zealand and Australia.

+ Vaccine inequality 'becoming more grotesque every day'

As of last week, only 0.1 per cent of doses administered worldwide have been administered in "low-income" countries, while "high-income" countries (16 per cent of the world's population) account for more than half of the doses injected.

The WHO Head issued a warning about this growing inequality, stating "Some countries are racing to vaccinate their entire populations while other countries have nothing. This may buy short-term security, but it’s a false sense of security."

"The more transmission, the more variants. And the more variants that emerge, the more likely it is that they will evade vaccines."

Of the 448 million COVID vaccine doses administered to date, only 31 million have been through the COVAX programme.

In light of this growing inequality, Amnesty International has launched a new global campaign, A Fair Shot: Universal Access to Covid-19 Vaccines, calling for universal access to vaccines and calling for pharmaceutical companies to share their knowledge and technology to maximize the number of doses of vaccines available around the globe. 

+ Barbed-wire fences block escape from Rohingya fire

The ability of people to flee a massive blaze that burnt thousands of shelters was limited by kilometres of barbed-wire fencing surrounding Bangladesh’s Rohingya camps, witnesses say. 

Aid groups are still tallying the destruction from the 22nd March fire, which spread rapidly across bamboo-and-tarpaulin tent homes in parts of four conjoined camps at the Kutupalong complex near Cox’s Bazar.

Kutupalong Refugee Camp is home to around 700,000 Rohingya refugees, according to the United Nations (UN). Official UN figures indicate that around 45,000 Rohingya refugees (over 8,000 households) were affected by the fire. Tragically, the confirmed death toll is 15, and over 400 people remain missing. More than 500 people sustained injuries.

A number of facilities supported by CID members were also damaged or destroyed.

In support of the ongoing response led by the Bangladeshi authorities, UNHCR, IOM and other UN and NGO partners as well as refugee volunteers, are rushing to provide critical support and protection to the Rohingya refugees who lost their shelters and belongings in the devastating blaze.

+ Cook Islands - 'Mass depopulation' 

A travel bubble with New Zealand is the 'economic lifeline our people need', said Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown this week. 

Without a bubble, the Cooks is facing 'mass depopulation' as people head to New Zealand and Australia in search of work, said PM Mark Brown.

The island nation has lost over 24% of its labour workforce in the last year, and its government is spending $7 million a month on wage subsidies and propping up businesses.

Tourism makes up 65% of the Cooks economy.

Although no dates have been confirmed, a travel bubble is expected some time in May. All Cook Island citizens are expected to be vaccinated within two weeks, once the roll out begins.

New Zealand has provided $20 million in an aid package to support vaccinations.

COVID is an opportunity to 'reframe our economy', said Mark Brown, and pivot away from tourism towards other sources of income, including agriculture, fisheries, and research and development.

Whether through bilateral funds or aid (ODA), the Cooks is looking for support to:

  • Improve equity of outcomes for all citizens
  • Transform the economy
  • Invest in people, culture and the environment
  • Invest in the outer islands
  • Green the economy 

+ Myanmar Military Coup & Violence

Unarmed civilians and children, including a boy as young as five-years-old, was reported killed this week on some of the most intense violence  since the coup. A series of airstrikes by Myanmar’s military has also driven thousands of people across the country’s border with Thailand, adding a new dimension to an already volatile and deadly crisis.

Washington has announced the immediate suspension of all US trade engagement with Myanmar, until the return of a democratically elected government. President Biden has called the violence "terrible" and "absolutely outrageous." 

The EU has also threatened further sanctions against the Myanmar junta, but Russia pledged allegiance to one of its top arms buyers. "The Myanmar military has made yesterday a day of horror and of shame," EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell stated.


+ Save the date - CID Annual Conference & AGM 

CID Conference (and AGM), and the MFAT hui will be held on consecutive days, in person.

When: Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 October 
Where: Wellington

This will include a dinner event, tentatively at Parliament.

Further details to follow. Please save the date and book travel.

We look forward to seeing you all then!

The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.

Members Activities & Updates

+ APPLY NOW! Nominations for Member Rep on CID Code Committee 

CID is looking for a new Member Representative for the Code of Conduct Committee, for a period of two (2) years (renewable) from May 2021 - May 2023.

The Code of Conduct Committee  provides assurance to CID members, donors, the public and partners that the CID Code is being implemented effectively and equitably. The next 12 months will be an exciting time as we continue with the implementation of recommendations from the Code Review.

The Member Representative will be nominated and elected by CID member organisations. The elected Member Representative can be:

  • current staff or board members of CID organisations
  • ex-staff and ex-board members of CID organisations
  • fully elected CID board members but not the Chair of the CID board.

Please contact Aaron Davy if you require further information, including a copy of the Code of Conduct Committee ToR and nomination form. 

+ Manaaki Round 3 Workshop

MFAT are holding a workshop on 8 April 2021 to help interested NZNGOs prepare applications for Round Three of Manaaki. 

The two-hour workshop will provide information on what makes a strong application and offer an opportunity for questions.

Round Three was opened on 25 February 2021 with applications closing on 31 May 2021. Lessons learnt from Rounds One and Two have been incorporated into Round Three. Updated guidelines and a summary of the findings of the Manaaki end-of-pilot review can be found here.

The two-hour workshop will be held on Zoom, however NZNGOs are welcome to attend in person if they prefer.

Time/date: 1-3pm, Date 8 April 2021

Location: MFAT, 195 Lambton Quay, Te Aro, Wellington

If you wish to attend, please RSVP to, indicating whether you will attend in person or would like to be sent the zoom link.

+ CID members join World Vision &  Trade Aid to launch modern day slavery campaign

World Vision and Trade Aid are leading a sector-wide campaign (with almost 100 NZ companies signing an open letter to the Minister) calling for the government to introduce a Modern Slavery Act.

With events at parliament last week and significant media attention, the nation-wide petition has now been launched.

Please pass the link to the petition to your networks.  The link, as well as collateral to support communications, is available at

Globally over 40 million people are living in modern slavery, according to Walk Free's 2018 Global Slavery Index.  Legislation would help to stop products made using forced labour from making their way onto New Zealand shelves.

If you would like to share your organisation's jobs, events, or recent activities, please send an email to with an outline of the activity so it can be added to the next edition of the CID Weekly. 

Pacific News in Brief 

+ PNG COVID outbreak  - urgent

ACFID in Australia is calling on the Australian Government to immediately increase the number of vaccines Australia makes available from its existing domestic supply to PNG from 8,480 to 20,000, as more people get sick with COVID, including front line health workers, and local aid workers.

The health system in PNG is at risk of collapsing, as health facilities managing COVID-19 are close to capacity and almost too stretched to provide regular basic healthcare, says Ghulam Nabi, head of mission for Médecins Sans Frontières in Port Moresby.

"The public health messages need to be reinforced. The understanding of the current threat among the people needs to be improved. The government has imposed mask-wearing, but most people are not following the guidelines," he says.

"One of the bottlenecks is testing capacity in the country. There are almost no cartridges left, which are required to test PCR samples, and there aren’t enough healthcare workers to carry out the testing."

New Zealand has delivered supplies of PPE to PNG, but there are calls to consider sending vaccines and medical staff. 

The New Zealand Government has also made $250,000 available to PNG through its consulate.

+ NZ to take on legal and logistical responsibility for Pacific vaccines

PM Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that New Zealand is in talks with vaccine manufacturers to indemnify them from all liability when New Zealand supplies their products to vulnerable Pacific nations.

The logistical nightmare of distributing the Pfizer vaccine (which must remain cold) to remote atolls may lead to an alternative being used, if approved by Medsafe.

+ Building disaster resilience in Fiji

With the world’s attention focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, Fiji has had to look within to build disaster resilience.

It wasn’t just the frequency of cyclones that made 2020 different, it was that they hit during a global health pandemic.

The usual flow of HADR workers were not able to reach Fiji, and vital aid supplies needed to be quarantined and sanitised to reduce the risk of introducing COVID-19 to communities, delaying how quickly they could reach people in desperate need. 

Dei tiko na vakabauta’ is a Fijian term which means to be ‘steadfast in belief’. Sometimes you just have to bow your head, say a prayer, and weather the storm. Fiji's response to cyclones during COVID has shown that local organisations can respond with agility to strengthen local processes and boost the country’s resilience.


+ Solomons police appeal for help to stop COVID

Police in Solomon Islands say they cannot successfully secure the western border with Papua New Guinea and stop the spread of Covid-19 without the help of communities in the Western, Choiseul and Malaita provinces, reports RNZ today.


+ Wallis and Futuna roll out vaccines

Almost 40 percent of the population of Wallis and Futuna has been vaccinated against Covid-19 as a lockdown over its first community outbreak is entering its fourth week.


+ 'Facebook is the internet in the Pacific'

In Papua New GuineaFijiSolomon Islands, KiribatiCook Islands and elsewhere, Facebook is by far the most frequently used social media platform and, for those with internet access, often the first port of call for news writes the Lowy Institute.

Thats why the recent showdown between Australia and Facebook, where news was banned on the platform for 8 days, disproportionally impacted the Pacific's access to news.

"Facebook has achieved this dominance as a result of the first-mover advantage it gained from telecommunications companies selling data for use with Facebook more cheaply than internet data."

Digital access in the Pacific is a challenge. According to GSMA, mobile internet uptake is very low across the Pacific by world standards, at just 18% of the Pacific population. Keeping a telephone handset battery charged can be a challenge in parts of the Pacific. The internet is expensivecompared with other regions.


Useful Links, Webinars & Podcasts

+ New safeguarding tool - BOND

BOND UK have developed a new discussion-based tool to support leaders of organisations to understand what a positive safeguarding culture looks like.

It will help leaders to assess their organisational culture in relation to safeguarding and develop clear actions to help prevent all types of harm, including sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH).

+ National Strategy for Community Governance Webinar

Chairing the Board is a series of four videos that aims to help existing Chairs improve their leadership competencies or assist aspiring Chairs to be well prepared for the role. 

The content for these videos was created with the input of more than thirty experienced board chairs, based on their experiences about what they wished they knew when they got their first chair role. 

Chairing the Board will be launched in an online event on Wednesday 14 April at 12.00 pm. Get tickets here.

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