New Facility To Accelerate Australia's International Disaster Response
3 November 2008 at 2:33 pm
A warehouse containing essential emergency relief supplies will enable Australian humanitarian agencies to respond faster to disasters in the region.
Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan, opened the Joint Emergency Stores Warehouse in Brisbane, a partnership between the Australian Government and three humanitarian relief agencies.
The joint arrangement of the facility expects to lower administration costs, and ensure more aid is delivered to those who need it. The warehouse will contain about 100 tonnes of supplies, valued at approximately $1 million.
Bob McMullan says Australia is the regional leader in providing critical humanitarian and emergency relief and is often the first to respond when a natural disaster or crisis strikes our region.
He says being well into cyclone season, and the Asia-Pacific is particularly vulnerable to tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods and droughts, it is imperative that Australia is ready and well equipped to help nearby countries.
This pioneering facility will be run in partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and Australian NGOs Oxfam, World Vision and the Australian Red Cross.
Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Robert Tickner says the speedy provision of clean water, food and emergency shelter can make the difference in the aftermath of a disaster.
He says this facility is an excellent example of the level of cooperation between the Australian Government and the three agencies, and will allow for much faster, coordinated responses to disasters across the Asia-Pacific region.
Oxfam Executive Director, Andrew Hewett says having stocks of emergency relief items on hand in Brisbane means that Oxfam can get assistance to those hit hard by disaster in our region much more quickly.
Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello says the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami demonstrated the central role that the Australian Government and NGOs play in disaster relief.
He says since then there has been unparalleled cooperation between aid agencies and the Australian Government.
He says the warehouse will have an enormous impact on the ability to work cooperatively and effectively when disasters strike.
On average Australia provides assistance to over 30 humanitarian and emergency situations every year. This year, the Government provided assistance to victims of cyclones in Burma and Bangladesh, the Chinese earthquake, floods and landslides in Indonesia and humanitarian food aid to Kenya, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.
In 2008-09, Australia will provide almost $320 million to support humanitarian, emergency and refugee programs.