AUSTRALIA STANDS BY ITS NEIGHBOURS
Australia, in another show of the friendship and solidarity that it shares with its neighbours, has been leading the international response to the tragic breakdown of civil order in East Timor and to the devastating earthquake in Indonesia.
In East Timor, Australia acted rapidly and decisively to respond to East Timor's request for assistance to restore peace and security. Australian has deployed some 2500 troops in and around East Timor – 1800 in Dili alone – and has more than 80 Australian Federal Police officers on the ground. Australia is also providing $3 million of assistance to meet the urgent needs of the estimated 100,000 East Timorese people that have fled their homes. Malaysian, New Zealand and Portuguese forces are also in East Timor.
‘The Australia Government was glad to facilitate the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers from Dili by the Philippine Air Force’, said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Tony Hely.
In Indonesia, Australia has mobilised and deployed – like the Philippines – a team of disaster relief experts to support the expanded emergency response to the recent devastating earthquake in the Yogyakarta region of Java. Australia is sending more than 80 specialists and large quantities of relief supplies as part of a A$7.5 million commitment of critical humanitarian assistance to quake survivors.
‘It is not in the nature of Australians, nor the Australian Government, to take the easy option of walking on the other side of the street’, said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. ‘Our neighbours can count on our help’.
Australia demonstrated this in the Philippines earlier this year through the provision of A$1 million of immediate relief supplies and substantial rehabilitation assistance to local communities following the tragic landslide in southern Leyte.
Further details on, and images of, Australian assistance in East Timor and Indonesia can be found at: