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Third tsunami report shows Aceh community rebuilding.

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The Hon Bruce Billson MP Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs

AA 05 121 19 December 2005

Third tsunami report shows Aceh community rebuilding

Australia has trained more than 350 hospital staff in Aceh to restore the delivery of health services to the local community, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Bruce Billson, announced today at the national launch of the third Australian Government report into tsunami assistance.

‘Although critical hospital services were devastated by the Boxing Day tragedy, Australian funding has helped restore a health workforce to treat the hundreds of Achenese who use the main hospital each day,’ Mr Billson said.

‘Strengthened basic services such as health and education are assisting the community recover and Australia is making a significant contribution to health, education and community services in Aceh.

‘The report, Australia’s Response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, highlights the significant impact of Australian assistance to re-establish the Zainoel Abidin Hospital, repair local schools, rebuild up to 180 village halls, re-open the city’s port and re-establish title to 15,000 parcels of land,’ Mr Billson said.

‘Australian support has helped the community rebuild by giving families access to daily health services, children opportunities to continue their education and people a chance to meet and discuss reconstruction priorities in community centres.

‘Although rebuilding a city the size of Canberra takes time, significant progress has also been made in Aceh to restore vital infrastructure and re-establish property boundaries to accelerate housing reconstruction,’ Mr Billson said.

‘More than $220 million has been committed to relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Aceh and over $25 million to other affected South Asian countries to 30 November.

‘All Australians should be proud of the dedication and generosity shown by so many Australians in contributing time and money to help those in need and the Australian Government remains committed to assisting communities with long-term programs for reconstruction and development,’ Mr Billson said

Mr Billson also welcomed the release of the Australian Council for International Development’s (ACFID) third progress report, which shows the total value of private donations through ACFID member organisations stands at more than $345 million.

Media contact: Shane Fairlie (Mr Billson’s office) 0408 680 442 AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590

Media releases and speeches are available on AusAID’s internet site