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Australian aid For Afghan earthquake victims



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M E D I A R E L E A S E MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA45 9 June 1998

AUSTRALIAN AID FOR AFGHAN EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

I am pleased to announce that the Australian Government will provide $300,000 in humanitarian assistance for the victims of the Afghanistan earthquake.

Together with many other Australians, I express my sympathy to the families of the victims of this natural disaster.

This devastating earthquake comes soon after an earlier major earthquake which caused severe damage and loss of life in approximately the same location in February this year.

It is estimated that 70,000 people are in urgent need of assistance including food, shelter and medical supplies.

The death toll from this latest earthquake now stands at 4,700 people and a further 45,000 are homeless.

Australia's contribution will go towards transporting relief supplies by helicopter to remote mountain villages which are inaccessible by road.

Our assistance will be provided through the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) which is managing the overall relief effort. We have also provided an Australian disaster relief expert, requested by UNOCHA, to assist with the coordination of relief efforts.

This contribution takes Australia’s total humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan this year to $5.3 million.

NEW YORK

Media contact: Greg Hunt (New York) 917 6920090 Innes Willox (Minister’s office) 02 6277 7500/0411 414 695 Carol Haffke (AusAID) 02 6206 4966/0417 683 767

Media releases and speeches are available from AusAID via the Internet, http://www.ausaid.gov.au