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Australia helps Vanuatu with cyclone relief.



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ALEXANDER DOWNER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AA 04 017

Sunday 29 February 2004

Australia Helps Vanuatu with Cyclone Relief

Australia is providing further emergency supplies to Vanuatu in response to the devastation from Cyclone Ivy.

Tomorrow, Monday 1 March 2004, two RAAF Hercules C130 aircraft will arrive in Port Vila with urgently needed emergency supplies.

The flights, which are due to leave from Richmond RAAF base, will deliver 2400 tarpaulins for shelter, 2600 water containers and 5200 packets of water purification tablets.

Two officers from Emergency Management Australia have also flown to Port Vila to assist with coordinating the humanitarian efforts. Australia's overseas aid agency, AusAID, is managing the Australian assistance in close cooperation with the Australian Defence Force, Emergency Management Australia and our FRANZ partners, New Zealand and France.

Australian Government officers in Port Vila are working closely with the local National Disaster Management Office and other Vanuatu authorities, Vanuatu Red Cross, FRANZ partners in Vanuatu and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC).

UNDAC is organising a needs assessment to more accurately determine both the extent of the damage and the relief effort required.

At this stage local authorities are preparing 3000 family relief packs. Initial reports have detailed damage to houses, gardens, fruit trees and crops and schools on many islands in Vanuatu. One death has been reported.

Today's announcement of assistance comes on top of the $50,000 made available by the Australian Government immediately after Cyclone Ivy. The $50,000 is being used to support a helicopter reconnaissance mission to gather more detailed information.

Through Australia's ongoing aid assistance to Vanuatu, support has also been given to training staff in the local National Disaster Management Office to help enable the team to prepare for and respond to emergencies such as cyclones.

Cyclone Ivy, a Category 3 cyclone, swept through the islands of Vanuatu between 24-28 February. Australia stands ready to provide further assistance.

Media contacts:

Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890

Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489