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AUS: Australian Experts To Help In Taiwan

23 September 1999

The Australian Government is sending Australian disaster response experts to help the United Nations disaster assessment and coordination team in Taiwan following the devastating earthquake.

Team members have been nominated by various emergency organisations around the country and include:

Gary Littlewood - Queensland Fire and Rescue

Wayne Staples - NSW Fire and Rescue

Martin Vandersanden - ACT Fire Brigade

Mark O'Connor - Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (Victoria)

David Kemp - South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service

The team will assess search and rescue priorities as part of the UNDAC (United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination) team and will be based at the Emergency Response Centre in Taipei.

The five Australians will join Search and Rescue teams from around the world in their efforts to help the estimated 2,600 people still trapped under collapsed structures.

The Australian Government will cover the transport costs and expenses of the experts and has contracted Emergency Management Australia to facilitate the mission.

Latest reports confirm that this is a humanitarian disaster of major proportion. Over 2,000 lives have been lost and more than 3,800 people injured. There is widespread disruption of essential services.

The Australian Government has expressed our deep sympathy and condolences to the people of Taiwan. Australia is pleased to be able to make a contribution towards relieving the suffering of those directly affected.

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