Murray’s latest round of travels started with a trip to UK, for a series of meetings at head office in London. He then hopped across to Oslo for the Global Water and Sanitation Meeting, where he managed to squeeze in a day snowboarding before the main meeting started.
The Global Water and Sanitation Meeting in Norway discussed setting up a global rapid response team funded by the European Commission, so that within 24 hours trained personnel can be on the ground in a disaster zone to coordinate the disaster response. Building on learning from the Haiti response the teams will now include people with information management and geographical information mapping (GIS) skills. The meeting finished with a dinner hosted by the Norwegian government. Norway’s population is similar to New Zealand’s, at 4.5 million people, but its aid and development budget at US$4.7 billion is 11 times more than New Zealand’s overseas aid budget of US$420 million.
Murray then went to Haiti to check on the project, with stopovers in New York on the way there and Miami on the way back. He noticed real progress in the response with hundreds of thousands of shelters being provided for people who
lost their houses in the earthquake. Murray’s work has focused on schools and education, with a school rebuilding program together with child and community health education in response to the cholera epidemic. The team is also working in partnership with an organization developing household chlorination systems to combat cholera.
Murray’s work load has increased as he has stepped in as the interim Southern Sudan Country Director, until a new recruit is found. This has meant more trips to South Sudan. Please keep Sudan in your prayers, as they officially become a separate nation from the north in July this year. At the moment, there are border disputes in the Abyei region and power struggles between different commanders in the southern army. Murray is also still studying for a Masters degree and is planning for his annual conference in June, so things are busy.
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