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Australia's $10 million for Indian Ocean disaster relief.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA 04 098 27 December 2004

Australia's $10 Million for Indian Ocean Disaster Relief

The Australian Government has approved an immediate allocation of $10 million for emergency relief operations in countries affected by yesterday's tidal waves.

Much of this assistance is likely to be directed through international relief agencies such as the Red Cross and UN humanitarian agencies.

The disaster caused by the earthquake in the ocean off northern Sumatra, Indonesia, early yesterday morning our time, is of extraordinary proportions. At least eight countries are severely affected.

We are still gathering information about damage and the priority needs of the many areas affected. Unfortunately, it is all too apparent that the already huge casualty toll will increase significantly as information comes to hand.

It is clear that the widest possible international response is required.

For its part, Australia is looking at all available options, including direct assistance with emergency relief supplies. We know from experience that access to clean water, for example, must already be a problem for hundreds of thousands of families.

Over the next hours and days Australia will work with our international partners to assess and identify ways in which to offer the most constructive and effective assistance.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 0419 206 890 AusAID Public Affairs 0417 680 590