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Demining Assistance for Laos



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M E D IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA19 13 March 1998

DEMINING ASSISTANCE FOR LAOS

I am pleased to announce Australia is to provide $864,000 for a range of programs designed to increase public awareness of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and to promote disaster preparedness in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Several Australian non-government aid organisations will be engaged in activities involving:

• a nationwide program to assist school-aged children; their families, and ethnic minorities in UXO safety awareness, through school-based training and the mass media;

• landmine and UXO clearance and awareness programs in Khammouane Province;

• a program aimed at building Lao capacity to establish and manage UXO clearance; and

• training the people of Saravan and Sekong Provinces in disaster preparedness.

Australia is one of the leading contributors to international land mine clearance programs. Since March 1996, the Howard Government has provided $19 million for demining assistance. The Government expects to commit $100 million to demining initiatives in the decade to 2005.

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s office) 02 6277 7500/0411 414 695 Mark Giffard (AusAID) 02 6206 4840