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Samoa Measles Epidemic – Cash the best way to support

Press Release – Council for International Development

It has been heartening to see again, the generosity of the New Zealand public during a crisis, but it is key that support matches the immediate needs in Samoa, says CIDs Humanitarian Coordinator, Aaron Davy.

2nd December 2019
“It has been heartening to see again, the generosity of the New Zealand public during a crisis, but it is key that support matches the immediate needs in Samoa”, says CID’s Humanitarian Coordinator, Aaron Davy.

The best way the New Zealand public can support the Samoa measles response is to donate money, whether through already existing family-to-family/ church-to-church connections, or to a trusted and experienced organisation.

New Zealand’s international charities are working directly with their partners in Samoa to ensure appropriate and life-saving support is directed to communities and families who need it most

The current death toll in Samoa is 48, and this is expected to increase with the epidemic yet to peak. Over 1.5% of the islands population is infected, with over 3,200 measles cases reported. An additional 75,000 people have been assessed as particularly vulnerable. CID remains concerned the fall in vaccination rates has created the conditions for such a significant outbreak to occur.

Previous emergency responses in the Pacific region show how excessive volumes of unsuitable, unrequested goods that arrive unannounced can cause more problems, especially without appropriate paperwork for customs clearance, or a lack of a clear recipient. 60% of goods sent by well-meaning public after a disaster is actually not needed. Most of it ends up in landfill. It can also further undermine an already impacted local economy.

A number of Council for International Development Humanitarian Network organisations are providing critical support through their partners already within the Samoan community, and in line with the coordinated response as led by the Samoa Government.

• UNICEF has provided 100,000 vaccine doses.

• Caritas Aoteoroa is purchasing hospital-grade linen and hand sanitiser, and providing transportation support to ensure medical staff mobility.

• ADRA has been providing of water and food to queuing families and staff at vaccination centres, along with delivery of neo-natal equipment donated by regional medical authorities.

• Rotary is working with local manufacturers to make beds and cots to support the comfort of those in hospital.

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