Friday, 8 January 2010 7:53 AM

Australian Assistance to Solomon Islands

Australian Trade Minister and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Simon Crean, today announced that Australia will provide up to AUD50,000 (around SBD325,000) in immediate emergency relief assistance in response to the earthquakes that have recently affected Solomon Islands.

Initial assessments suggest the earthquakes caused limited damage to housing, mainly on the western province island of Rendova. There have been no reports of serious injuries.

Australia is concerned for the welfare of all those affected by the earthquakes and will offer appropriate assistance to help the people of Solomon Islands.

This funding will enable the Red Cross and Oxfam to distribute and restock emergency supplies such as tarpaulins, water containers, clothing, blankets and emergency kits.

Australian officials are in regular contact with the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office and non-government organisations working in Solomon Islands.

Australia will consider further assistance once damage has been more fully assessed.

This funding is a further demonstration of Australia's friendship and commitment to the people of Solomon Islands.

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province