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Ongoing Australian assistance to Niue.



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Media contacts Catherine Fitzpatrick (Senator Hill) 0405 351 245

Defence Media Liaison 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Friday, 16 January 2004 10/2004

ONGOING AUSTRALIAN ASSISTANCE TO NIUE

Australian medical teams and relief supplies continue to assist in the restoration of the cyclone-ravaged Pacific Island of Niue.

An ADF medical team deployed to Niue last Friday and were operational within four hours of arriving at Niue airfield. Apart from establishing a 10-bed medical facility, one of their priorities was to set up a mobile health clinic to service the wider community.

The 17-person team has since treated over 300 patients with a range of injuries and conditions. The majority of patients have been treated for minor wounds and upper respiratory tract infections and the medical team has been heartened by the

absence of serious illness or injury. Ongoing medical care has also been provided for pre-existing health conditions.

Thanks to the prompt work of the ADF environmental health team all of Niue’s above ground water supply has been chlorinated and supplies of fresh water are now guaranteed. The health team has played a critical role in managing risks posed by vermin and insects and has instructed local personnel on waste management.

The medical team has also advised local clean-up crews on the correct handling of asbestos to avoid significant health risks associated with the clean-up and repair of buildings and infrastructure. Nuie’s Ministry of Health has also benefited from the team’s advice on developing plans for the restoration of local health services.

Australia through Defence, Emergency Management Australia and AusAID, has also sent additional supplies to Niue to support the medical team including clean-up and safety equipment and protective clothing.

“ The work of the health care team and additional relief supplies has greatly lifted the spirits of all Niueans and made a vital contribution to the restoration effort,” Senator Hill said. “I am also pleased to announce that space was made available on a second relief flight sent last Sunday for Australia’s Niuean community to send care packages and messages of support to their friends and families on the island.”

Australia has worked in close cooperation with New Zealand, our Pacific Island neighbours and France to put together the total relief package. Australia stands ready to respond to further requests for assistance to help with the on-going recovery and rehabilitation of Niue.