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Australia to provide $30 million in further assistance to victims of Cyclone Nargis.



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Stephen Smith MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

AA 0850 23 July 2008

EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.01AM, WEDNESDAY 23 JULY 2008

AUSTRALIA TO PROVIDE $30 MILLION IN FURTHER ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS OF CYCLONE NARGIS

Australia will provide a further $30 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma adversely affected by Cyclone Nargis.

This assistance will help those in greatest need, in particular women, children and the displaced.

This latest funding will bring Australia's total contribution in response to Cyclone Nargis to $55 million, making Australia one of the largest individual donors.

This includes a contribution of $5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver urgently needed basic food supplies.

United Nations agencies, such as the WFP and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), are playing an important role in delivering assistance such as food, clean drinking water, health, sanitation, education services and shelter to families.

Support to early agricultural recovery activities will also be a priority due to losses in crops, livestock and fisheries. Australia will also continue to support the work of NGOs with the capacity to effectively deliver aid in a difficult operating environment.

A breakdown of this additional contribution will be determined following detailed consideration of the Post-Nargis Joint Assessment (PONJA) conducted by ASEAN and the UN and released yesterday (21 July 2008).

Australia commends the excellent efforts of ASEAN and UN agencies to ensure that emergency

assistance reaches communities affected by the cyclone. Their preparation of the PONJA provides a model for future collaboration in Burma.

While the international community has worked hard to bring aid to cyclone-affected communities in the wake of the disaster, many still need basic assistance.

The UN estimates that 2.4 million people have been severely affected by Cyclone Nargis. Assistance has so far reached 1.3 million people in the worst affected areas.

As access has slowly improved, international disaster relief agencies have been able to make significant progress in distributing essential supplies.

Australia is continuing to work with its regional and international partners, especially ASEAN, to coordinate aid efforts and ensure that the Burmese regime maintains access for international aid organisations.

Mr Smith's Office: Courtney Hoogen 02 6277 7500 or 0488 244901 AusAID Public Affairs 0417 680 590