Increased Australian assistance for Sudan and Chad

In response to the ongoing crisis in Africa, Australia will provide an additional $10 million to help relieve the suffering of people in Darfur, Sudan and in Eastern Chad. $7 million has been allocated for Darfur and $3 million for Eastern Chad. This brings Australia's total assistance to the Sudan/Chad crisis to $30 million.

The increased contribution reflects the deterioration of conditions in the Darfur region where up to 2.3 million people have been displaced and the level of insecurity is high. A further 200,000 of the displaced are in refugee camps in Chad.

Australia's funding will be channelled through the World Food Programme and other aid agencies including UNICEF, ICRC, Care Australia, Oxfam CAA and World Vision Australia. It will be used for emergency food aid, logistical operations, emergency assistance, health care, water supply and sanitation and the protection of civilians.

This announcement coincides with the release today of a new Humanitarian Action Policy which will underpin Australia's response to emergencies and disasters.

Australia has for many years given generously to people in difficult or desperate circumstances not of their making. We have a proud record of rapid support for the victims of humanitarian crises and disasters, both within our region and globally. This financial year funding for our humanitarian, emergency and refugee programs will exceed $180 million.

The Humanitarian Action Policy recognises that while our assistance is largely concentrated on the Asia Pacific region, we will continue to respond to emergencies in other parts of the world as our capacity permits.

The policy also reflects the increasingly difficult environment aid workers find themselves in and the growing recognition of the links between relief, rehabilitation, peace-building and development.

Australia strongly supports the objectives of humanitarian action in saving lives, alleviating suffering and maintaining human dignity during and in the aftermath of man-made crises and natural disasters.

Through the Australian aid program, AusAID will continue to work with partner countries to prevent disasters from occurring and build up local and community skills and resources needed for disaster preparedness, mitigation and response.

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