The greatest damage caused by Cyclone Ami has been observed in Northern and Eastern Vanua Levu and Cicia and Vanuavatu Islands in the Lau Group, with reports of flooding and damage to houses, crops and vegetation.
The Australian funds will be used for local purchase of communication equipment, water tanks, containers, pumps and generators, family packs and tarpaulins.
Australia has also chartered a helicopter that is undertaking damage assessment of remote areas today and tomorrow. The assessment team on the helicopter includes an AusAID official and medical personnel.
In addition to the helicopter charter costs of $25,000, Australia has also contributed F$5,000 (about $4000) in support of a Fiji national radio emergency relief appeal.
An AusAID emergencies response officer went to Fiji today to assist coordination of the relief effort. A batch of 100,000 water purification tablets will follow on the first available commercial flight.
I would like to take this opportunity to convey to the Government and people of Fiji Australia's sympathy on the tragic loss of life caused by Cyclone Ami.
The Fiji Government is still to fully assess field reports of damage to communities affected by Cyclone Ami and the Australian Government remains ready to consider further requests for assistance.
Andrew Park (Mr Downer's office) 0418
Jo Elsom (AusAID) (02) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489