CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS:  The Government of Vanuatu has developed a response plan for moving people to evacuation centres on nearby islands and has requested our assistance. We are working with, obviously the government of Vanuatu, but also with our partners, our FRANZ group and that is France, Australia and New Zealand and we are working on a coordinated response to the request for assistance from the Government of Vanuatu.

BRUCE HILL:  Well New Zealand has allocated another five hundred thousand dollars towards this and they are sending two defence force aircraft from Auckland to Luganville carrying twenty two tonnes of relief supplies. Is Australia able to do something similar?

CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS:  We are of course responding, we have received a request from... for assistance and that includes funding for the evacuation, for logistics arrangements, for the release of prepositioned supplies and other requests which I am sure will be advised to us in due course as and when they are required. We are working as I said with our partners towards this response. Our post in Vila is working with Vanuatu Red Cross on what the options are for the release of the, of stores, things like tarpaulins, water purification kits, hygiene kits. Also, our program Australia Assists we also support a disaster risk management expert and a logistics officer that is positioned in the Vanuatu national disaster management office and at the request of the Government of Vanuatu we are arranging for, also, for a deployment of a resettlement expert to help with the relocation efforts. So these are all things that are actually happening and because of the nature of where we are and the closeness, we are looking at so many different things so that is, Bruce, the response as it is at the moment. It is a moving issue and we are responding to the needs of the Vanuatu Government as they are made. But as I said also working with our partners to provide a coordinated response to the requests that are being made to us.

BRUCE HILL:  You mentioned this is being done in the framework of the FRANZ, France, Australia and New Zealand; obviously Australia and New Zealand are doing some things, do we know what France is able to offer?

CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS:  Well it is part of, we, as a group have received this request; at this point in time we are looking at what the, how to respond to these different requests and where the capacities are to respond and to respond immediately.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7110
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555