Wednesday, March 17, 2010

AUSTRALIAN ASSISTANCE TO FIJI FOLLOWING CYCLONE TOMAS

Media release
17 March 2010

http://www.foreignminister.gov.au

Australia will provide up to $1 million in initial emergency humanitarian assistance to help the people of Fiji recover from the devastation and destruction caused by Cyclone Tomas.

There are reports of widespread damage, especially in the northern parts of Fiji.

Following an official request for assistance from the Fiji Interim Government, Australia will send emergency relief supplies to Fiji.

An Australian Defence Force C130 is expected to depart from Richmond base as soon as weather permits. A commercial flight will also be available if required.

The Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated clearance will be given for the ADF to land in Fiji and provide immediate support. In addition to the delivery of goods the aircraft could be involved in surveying damaged areas and providing medical evacuations.

The aircraft will carry supplies such as tarpaulins for shelter, water purification tablets and water containers. Australia will also provide funding to Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office to charter transport such as helicopters and boats to deliver much needed relief supplies to remote communities.

The Fiji Red Cross will receive funding to distribute emergency supplies already in storage in Fiji, and enable the local purchase of other essential supplies.

Last night I spoke to New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, to discuss assistance to Fiji in the wake of the cyclone. Australia and New Zealand will work closely to coordinate our response. Australia will consider further assistance for reconstruction once damage has been more fully assessed. A tropical cyclone warning is currently in place for Fiji as Cyclone Tomas moves slowly across the nation. The interim government of Fiji has declared a state of emergency for the Northern and Eastern Divisions.

A curfew is in place in the Northern, Eastern and Central Divisions and flights into and out of Fiji may be delayed or cancelled. Transport within Fiji, including ferries and flights, has been cancelled.

Australians currently in Fiji or planning to travel to Fiji should register with Smartraveller.gov.au, and contact their transport and accommodation provider to check current arrangements.


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