AUSTRALIA INCREASED FLOOD ASSISTANCE PACKAGE TO SOLS

His Excellency Andrew Byrne announcing the aid money. Photo credit: SIBC.

His Excellency Andrew Byrne announcing the aid money. Photo credit: SIBC.

The Australian Government has announced 3-million Australian dollars assistance package for the Solomon Islands flooding.

A media release from the Office of Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said she announces Australia will provide a total package of 3-million dollars to assist Solomon Islanders affected by the recent floods.

Ms Bishop said the funding will assist the Government of Solomon Islands, NGOs and the United Nations to respond to the immediate needs of people affected by the disaster and support early recovery efforts.

The Australian High Commissioner, Andrew Byrne confirmed the increased assistance to SIBC News this week.

“Australia has increased its assistance to Solomon Islands in the wake o the flooding disaster, so yesterday our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop telephoned Prime Minister Lilo to inform him that we would be increasing our assistance to 3-million Australian dollars, which is about 19-point-five million Solomon dollars. That’s an increase of two-point-six million, so now three million dollars in total.”

High Commissioner Byrne also said the money will be used to address immediate humanitarian needs, and assist flood affected victims with basic tools to rebuild their lives.

“That additional new money will be for immediate humanitarian needs, so most of it will go towards supporting the people in the evacuation centres, we understand there are now around 10-thousand t0 12-thousand people in those centres and then over the coming weeks helping them move home, so providing immediate needs like water, sanitation and then over the coming weeks things like building materials, basic equipment that will help them leave the centres and reestablish their homes.”

Meanwhile, a further 6-hundred thousand dollars will be for a reconnaissance team to work with RAMSI and Solomon Islands authorities to assess flood damage at the Gold Ridge mine.

Australian Civilian Corps engineers and two Australian Government Rapid Response Team members have been deployed to assist in humanitarian supplies and logistics transportation.

The Australian Defence Force has also deployed a 12-person assistance team, including R-A-A-F assets.

Staff from the Australian High Commission, and Australian Federal Police attached to the RAMSI Participating Police Force, are assisting in relief efforts.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia is working with the Government of Solomon Islands and NGOs to ensure the safety and support of displaced people – especially the vulnerable, women and children.

The Foreign Minister also announced Australia has updated its travel advice for Solomon Islands to reflect the flooding and is reviewed regularly.

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