Preparing for a rough summer in Asia and the Pacific
As Australians prepare for Christmas and the New Year break, Australian non-government aid agencies are preparing for natural disasters, with Australian Government help.
Under a new Humanitarian Partnership Agreement, the Australian Government is providing $10.5 million to Care, Caritas, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision to ensure a faster, more co-ordinated response to rapid onset emergencies. Participating NGOs have been pre-qualified and have a proven track record in providing humanitarian assistance internationally.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said already we have seen flash flooding in the Philippines that has resulted in over 600 deaths.
'The Australian Government's work with the Red Cross and the Philippines Government meant emergency supplies were pre-positioned for immediate distribution, and assessment teams are now working to see what more needs to be done,' said Mr Rudd.
In the last 30 years, the incidence of disasters globally has more than doubled, and almost half happen in the Asia-Pacific region.
'It's particularly a problem in poor countries that don't have the resources to respond when disaster strikes,' said Mr Rudd.
'Australia's support will build the capacity of NGOs and their partners on the ground to respond to disasters.
'They will also help build disaster risk management and lessen the impact of natural disasters in partner countries and regions, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific.'
Additionally, Australia has provided close to $11 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for emergency preparedness within the Asia Pacific region and Africa.
'Australia's contribution is enhancing WFP's ability to pre-position humanitarian supplies, and improve disaster management capacity within the WFP and with partner governments in developing countries.
'Australia's support ensures that people in crisis receive life-saving food and shelter,' Mr Rudd said.
Media enquiries: Minister's Office (02) 6277 7500; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Media Liaison (02) 6261 1555; AusAID Media: 0417 680 590