Indonesia + 2 more

Australian aid to South East Asian natural disaster relief efforts

Indonesia was hit last week by a series of natural disasters including an earthquake and tsunami in the Mentawai Islands and the eruption of the Mount Merapi volcano.

The Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, on behalf of the Australian Government, has expressed his condolences to the people of Indonesia, particularly the affected communities.

As time goes on, the increasing severity of these disasters is becoming apparent. The tsunami has resulted in 431 deaths, and 96 people are still missing. More than 400 people have been injured, and more than 15,000 people are displaced.

The volcano, which erupted again on yesterday, has left 38 people dead, and has displaced around 70,000 people.

In response, the Government of Indonesia has accepted an offer from the Australian Government for assistance.

Today Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Australia will double its assistance to Indonesia following these devastating events.

This additional funding of $1.1 million in recovery assistance will support non-government organisation SurfAid to help the Mentawai Islands over the next year.

This assistance will include support for health and psycho-social programs for affected communities as well as longer term emergency preparedness activities.

This is in addition to our initial support package of up to $1 million announced on Friday:

the non-government organisation SurfAid for assessment, relief and recovery activities in the Mentawai Islands

the Indonesian community organisations Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama to help local communities recover following the eruption

the Indonesian Red Cross for humanitarian assistance in the Mentawai Islands and the Mount Merapi area.

One AusAID officer has been working with local assessment teams near Mount Merapi, and another two AusAID officers have been assisting the response in the Mentawai Islands.

Australia stands ready to assist further if Indonesia requires more support to address these tragic events.

Vietnam-Heavy rains and flooding

During October, central Vietnam was effected by heavy rains and flooding.

On 18 October the International Federation of the Red Cross appealed to the international community for emergency assistance. In response, Australia will provide $200,000 in humanitarian support to help provide relief assistance to households in Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces.

Food, non-food relief items, water and sanitation, early recovery/livelihood support (distribution of seeds and fertilizer) and psychosocial support will be provided by the Vietnam Red Cross through the Australian Red Cross.

Burma-Cyclone Giri

Australia is providing $200,000 in emergency assistance to help the people of Burma adversely affected by the Cyclone Giri.

The cyclone has caused widespread damage with estimates of up to 400,000 people severely affected. Australia's assistance will support emergency shelter, food, water and sanitation and be delivered through the Australian Red Cross.

Australia is closely monitoring the situation and further emergency assistance will be considered once the full impact has been assessed.