Australian High Commission
Also accredited to Tuvalu

27009 Schools assist

Flood Affected Schools Receive Australian Assistance

27 February 2009

Australian assistance towards Fiji’s recovery and rehabilitation following the January floods is continuing, with a financial contribution today for 25 schools which suffered damage or served as evacuation centres during the floods.

Australia is providing F$756,000 through the Ministry of Education to enable repairs and maintenance work to be carried out on 25 schools, and to cover annual school levies.

A Memorandum of Understanding formalising Australia’s assistance was signed in Suva today by the Australian High Commissioner, Mr James Batley and Fiji’s interim Minister for Education, Mr Filipe Bole.

“Australia has always been a friend to the people of Fiji. This assistance towards the Ministry of Education’s flood relief efforts demonstrates Australia’s continued commitment to helping the people of Fiji during this difficult time”, said Mr Batley.

Of the F$756,000, approximately F$389,000 will go towards school infrastructure repairs and the provision of resources, including water tanks, furniture, library/learning resources and stationery. F$367,000 will be used to cover annual school levies for students attending the 25 schools.

“This will assist families who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the floods to ensure their children continue to attend school”, said Mr Batley.

The Ministry of Education will disburse the funds to the appropriate school management committees.

Following the January floods in Fiji, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Stephen Smith MP, announced on January 16 that Australia would provide F$3.75 million in assistance towards immediate relief efforts and longer term recovery and reconstruction. Australia’s flood assistance is focused on health, education and agriculture.

Australian officials are in ongoing discussions with the Education Ministry and other Fiji authorities regarding options for further support to collective flood recovery efforts.