Recent emergencies

Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami

2 October 2018


New Zealand’s international charities are working directly with their partners based on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, to get vital supplies to people in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Estimates put the number of people affected at over 1.5 million.


The emergency response is being hampered by widespread power outages, lack of available machinery and fuel shortage. Fatalities are at 844 and rising. Over 16,000 people have been displaced and have sought safety in 24 camps across the island. Roughly 1,100 schools and colleges have been damaged, affecting over 150,000 students. Rapid assessments are being undertaken in-country, and immediate needs have been identified.


These include search and rescue equipment, water, food, shelter, fuel, safe and dignified burial management, medical supplies and psycho-social support. The earthquakes shook Central Sulawesi on Friday 28 September. The tsunami then struck coastal regions including Palu and Donggala. A 14-day state of emergency has been declared by the Central Sulawesi administration, and a formal request to the New Zealand government has now been made.


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Bangladesh - A group of girls collect drinking water for their families from a pump in Balukhali camp. © Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville, Oxfam

New Zealand NGOs come together to respond to humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar

In January 2018, the New Zealand Government donated a further $1.4M to support NZ NGOs working in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.

November 2017. New Zealand’s aid agencies and the government are coming together to respond to the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency on the Myanmar border of Bangladesh.

“We welcome the announcement from Foreign Minister Winston Peters that the New Zealand government will contribute a further $2.5 million for humanitarian assistance in help of Rohingya refugees seeking safety in Bangladesh,” says Mark Mitchell, Chair of the Council for International Development’s humanitarian network, the NDRF.

More than 600,000 people have fled conflict in Myanmar in the last three months, most arriving in neighbouring Bangladesh urgently needing help with the basics for survival. There are thousands of new arrivals in Bangladesh every day, and the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) two refugee camps in Bangladesh are now completely overcrowded. Many other informal camps are being established, none have sufficient basic services such as water and sanitation and the impact on the surrounding environment is unsustainable. The lack of safe shelter in the increasingly crowded conditions leads to risks of abuse or violence, especially towards women and girls and persons with disabilities.

The Government is working with New Zealand NGOs and will match dollar for dollar, up to $1 million for funds raised from the New Zealand public to help people affected by this crisis.
“New Zealanders wanting to help are urged to donate to any of our NGOs active in the region, listed below. While the refugees wait to see if they can return safely to their homes, we need to ensure their basic needs are met. This includes 4.5 million litres of clean water, and 4 million food rations to the camps, as well as shelter and protection,” says Mark Mitchell.

Earlier in 2017 New Zealand’s international NGOs came together to raise funds for the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. The public’s generosity exceeded expectations, and in response the government increased its funding for the emergency.

“We are coming together again to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Myanmar. The root causes of this crisis must be addressed and we encourage the New Zealand government to use its voice and relationships to protect the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children affected. This includes advocating that all people are treated in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law, and durable solutions for refugees are found to enable them to rebuild their lives in dignity.”


• Over 621,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August 2017.
• Families arrive traumatised, exhausted and hungry. Most have walked for days through jungles and across mountains, rivers and vast rice fields to reach safety.
• Many families have experienced trauma and lost members, which has unsettled the family’s structure. Around 19% are female-headed households, and the number of separated or unaccompanied children is growing. Children represent more than half of the Rohingya refugees.
• New arrivals are now living outside the camps, in makeshift settlements and temporary shelters – often nothing more than tarpaulin held on bamboo poles.



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South Sudan - A woman waits outside the food distribution centre in the Juba Protection of Civilians site. Photo: Simon Day, WVNZ

NZ Aid workers launch joint action for South Sudan famine

July 2017. New Zealand’s major aid agencies are uniting in an urgent plea for public donations to support their collective effort to prevent a humanitarian calamity in crisis-affected South Sudan and Greater Horn of Africa, including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Conflict and drought have placed 70 million people in need of immediate food aid. 5 million are already on the brink of starvation in South Sudan – a population the size of New Zealand’s. 6 million more are at risk in Somalia.

In 2016 the New Zealand public donated generously, contributing over $16.5 million for humanitarian relief efforts in the region. This year, please consider donating again, and help NZ relief agencies save more lives:

UNICEF NZ is scaling up relief efforts for millions of crisis affected children in South Sudan and Somalia, providing essential measles vaccines, medical care and nutritional supplements to mothers and their children, and child protection services for 500,000 children and adolescents, including those released from armed groups.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is responding to ongoing conflict, drought and displacement in South Sudan, through the distribution of food and shelter and by creating access to water. Activities are being carried out in Juba, Yei, Wau and Torit.

Christian World Service (CWS) is deeply committed to vulnerable communities across South Sudan including famine-affected Unity State, and among refugee communities. They are providing food, digging waterholes, running schools, distributing tools and seeds and assisting with shelter as part of a comprehensive relief effort.

World Vision New Zealand is aiding the delivery of food assistance to those worse affected across South Sudan, as well as supporting emergency nutrition centres treating severely malnourished children under five years of age.

Tearfund New Zealand is re-empowering trauma-affected South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, particularly those newly displaced & victims of abuse/torture & gender-based violence.

Save the Children New Zealand and its partners have been present in the Horn of Africa for over 20 years, and its recent relief efforts have reached more than 2.5 million people. Aid includes emergency nutrition, food distribution, livelihoods, health, water source rehabilitation, education, child protection and non-food items.

ChildFund New Zealand’s focus is to support projects that assist children for both long term change and when crisis strikes. They are often the most vulnerable in times of a humanitarian crisis. ChildFund's partners in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are providing food, water and psycho-social support to children.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has a long-term presence in the Horn of Africa. In response to this crisis the global ADRA network is providing emergency food distributions, school feeding programmes, water trucking and cash transfers to the most severely affected families in South-Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya and Yemen. In particular ADRA New Zealand is funding the distribution of food vouchers in some of the hardest hit areas of Somalia.

Oxfam is working in South Sudan, Lake Chad Basin, across the Horn of Africa and in Yemen to provide life-saving support. Our response so far has included emergency food and nutrition, access to safe, clean water, distributing cash and vouchers for seeds, tools and livestock care and improving sanitation through bathing facilities and toilet repair to prevent disease.