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Australia to Send Health Care Team to Niue


Australia to Send Health Care Team to Cyclone-Ravaged Niue

Australia will tonight fly a primary health care team to the tiny cyclone-ravaged Pacific island of Niue after Cyclone Heta destroyed the country's only hospital earlier this week.

Acting Prime Minister, John Anderson, said the deployment of the health team was in addition to immediate aid program funding of $150,000 already committed to address essential relief needs such as water purification, first aid supplies and food and shelter requirements.

“The Niue Government has requested assistance to meet the basic health needs of Niue’s population,” Mr Anderson said. “Our decision to send medical help comes after first-hand reports of damage were received from an Australian aid official on Niue.”

Australia's overseas disaster assistance plan has been activated by AusAID and will be coordinated by Emergency Management Australia (EMA) in Canberra, in conjunction with the Australian Defence Force.

“Australian officials are working closely with New Zealand, Niue and French colleagues to ensure the assistance to Niue is timely, comprehensive and effective.”

A self-sufficient team of Australian Defence Force personnel – including medical and nursing staff and a midwife, as well as specialists to assess the island’s public health situation – will fly by C-130 Hercules aircraft from RAAF Richmond tonight. The team is expected to remain on Niue for three weeks.

Australian assistance to Niue is also helping to provide for the installation of a new satellite dish to restore the country’s communication system.

In addition to the help for Niue, Australia is providing an initial $100,000 to assist Samoan communities affected by Cyclone Heta. The funds will help with immediate relief, logistic and assessment requirements.

Australia stands ready to respond to requests for further assistance to both Niue and Samoa to help deal with on-going recovery and rehabilitation activities.

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