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Oxfam Trailwalker 2020 cancelled

Amongst other events being cancelled as a result of coronavirus, Whakatane's Oxfam Trailwalker 2020 has also been cancelled.

"It is with great regret that Oxfam New Zealand announces the difficult but necessary decision of cancelling Oxfam Trailwalker 2020, due to be held in Whakatane this weekend, March 21-22," says Oxfam New Zealand executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier.

"The safety and welfare of all Oxfam Trailwalker participants, supporters, volunteers and community members is paramount. We have been assessing the risks and have been informed at every stage of our event planning by government and health authority instructions on the issue of COVID-19 containment.

"It takes a great commitment of time and energy by walkers, and their supporters, to prepare for this event. For the event to be cancelled four days out is hugely disappointing for all involved Рespecially so for walkers and their supporters Рas well as the volunteers, Whakatane community groups and the Oxfam team who have all given so much of their time already.

"Oxfam New Zealand thanks all potential participants for their valued contribution to Oxfam Trailwalker, and the impressive achievements made so far in training and fundraising. We are thinking of them as they have to cancel their trips, their accommodation and most of all, their hopes and aspirations in getting over that line together.

"Likewise, we feel deeply for the community of Whakatane who will be hard hit by this fresh challenge and who we were looking forward to working alongside in what was to be our fifth and final year in the region. At every stage, for 2020 and over the last 5 years, the full Whakatane community have been absolutely wonderful partners for Oxfam. Warm, generous with real commitment to both Trailwalker and the change in the world we all want to see".

"Dealing with the challenge posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic is one that we must all face as a community cooperating together."

Oxfam Trailwalker is the ultimate team endurance challenge – each team of four tackles either 100 kilometres in 36 hours, or 50 kilometres in 18 hours, to raise money for Oxfam’s fight against poverty. It is not a relay – the teams of four start and finish together.

While the event 2020 is not going ahead, the money raised to date is still needed and will be used to continue Oxfam’s committed and vital work into 2020, providing much-needed funds in ongoing humanitarian relief, including preparation for the spread of this pandemic to the Pacific, as well as finding lasting solutions to the challenges of climate crisis, poverty and injustice in the Pacific and beyond.

Oxfam has been very involved in humanitarian responses to epidemics (such as the Ebola crisis) and other communicable health risks around the world.

Their WASH programmes have at their heart the need to prevent transmission through clean water and good health and sanitation.

"As a world leader in this area we appreciate the measures that are necessary to protect our community," says Rachael.

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