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NZAID in Iraq

nzaidOctober 2004

The work so far…

Over the last two years, NZAID’s priority work was to get fresh water to communities, and rebuilding schools and health clinics in Iraq.

The reality of life in Iraq has meant that in some cases, the best option available has been to use New Zealand Defence Forces to carry out reconstruction work.

Recently, the Light Engineering Group (LEG) has been doing the work and under volatile and insecure conditions, they have done a great job for NZAID.

St Mary's School in BasrahCASE STUDY: St Mary’s School in Basrah

St Mary’s School in Basrah was re-roofed, painted, fitted with new electric and plumbing systems, and furnished with air conditioning and water coolers by New Zealand troops, with funding from NZAID.

Building water tanks in schools across Southern Iraq has meant that children are getting clean water, in some cases this will be the only clean water a child will have access to.

NZAID also contributed funds to a reverse osmosis water plant which is now, for the first time in a generation, bringing clean water to 200,000 people.

How is NZAID working with the United Nations in Iraq?
More recently, NZAID has prioritised refugee assistance and support for upcoming elections with NZ$3 million allocated to the UN to assist with these initiatives.

UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) received funding from NZAID for its work with Iraqi refugees. UNHCR provided food, shelter, sanitation and medical assistance to those who managed to cross over into neighbouring countries during conflict times, and to those who reached the border but were unable to cross.

UNDP (UN Development Programme) received funding from NZAID to set up functional electoral systems. Preparations have already begun for Iraqi elections to the Transitional National Assembly. These are scheduled for the end of January 2005.

Who else is carrying out these projects on behalf on NZAID?
Apart from the LEG and UN agencies, the following NGOs (Non-Government-Organisations) have received NZAID support and funding for their work in Iraq:

  • TEAR Fund: providing equipment to the Thalassemia Unit of Ibn Al-Baladi Hospital, Baghdad (see following case study)
  • Salvation Army: Small business training project to set up Iraqi women with sewing machines in Al Amarah, Missan, Southern Iraq
  • Christian World Service: relief and rehabilitation (food and shelter), Baghdad
  • Caritas Aotearoa NZ: Primary Health Improvement, Northern Iraq
  • Save the Children: nutritional support for vulnerable children.

Thalassaemia Unit in BaghdadCASE STUDY: Thalassaemia Unit in Baghdad

With NZAID funding, TEAR Fund has worked to supply the Thalassaemia Unit at Ibn Al Baladi Hospital in Baghdad. Thalassaemia is a congenital blood disease endemic in the Middle East.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq the unit lost one patient per month. During the two months of invasion the unit lost 16 patients. Despite the official conclusion of hostilities, the unit's death rate continued to increase.

Now, with NZAID’s help, TEAR Fund, the New Zealand-Iraqi Relief trust and the Umma Trust are providing the unit with medical supplies, equipment, educational material for staff and resources for patients and their families.

After NZDF troops leave, what’s next for NZAID in Iraq?
NZAID and the New Zealand Government are still looking at the options that include governance, law and order (police and security reform), electoral assistance, infrastructure rehabilitation, de-mining and work in the agricultural sector.

How much is NZAID spending in Iraq?

  • NZAID had an allocation of up to NZ$10 million for Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2003/04 financial year, and another NZ$10 million for conflict related emergencies in 2004/05.
  • In the 2003/04 financial year, NZAID funded just on NZ$2 million of aid and reconstruction work carried out on behalf of NZAID by New Zealand Defence Force in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • NZ$500,000 has been disbursed in Iraq through New Zealand NGOs working with partners in Iraq.
  • Another NZ$5 million of NZAID funding has gone towards United Nations and NGO work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Did aid money pay for the Defence forces to be in Iraq?
No. NZAID funded many of the Defence Force activities in reconstruction and development. These were additional inputs over and above the cost of deploying the New Zealand Defence Forces.

The OECD Development Assistance Committee has clear guidelines on what constitutes aid delivered by the military; New Zealand follows these guidelines.

For more information, contact NZAID Communications Coordinator Catrina McDiarmid 04 439 8314 or 021 5888 27

 This page was last reviewed 29 September, 2011 and is current.

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