Australia provides 1.5 billion kip for flood recovery

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Australian government has provided about 1.5 billion kip (AUD 250,000) to support the Lao government’s efforts to assist people affected by the recent floods.

The funding has been granted to UNICEF to focus on education and nutrition in Attapeu, Champassak, Khammuan, Saravan, Savannakhet and Xekong provinces, according a press release from UNICEF.  

The Australian Ambassador, Mr Jean-Bernard Carrasco, recently met with the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, to seek an update on the floods and discuss Australia’s support.

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, about 765,000 people in 44 districts across the six southern provinces were affected by the floods in early September, and almost 195,000 people were displaced. The floods damaged properties, farmland and infrastructure, including homes, schools, hospitals and health centres.

“The Australian government stands with the people of Laos. We are working hand-in-hand with national and local authorities as well as with UNICEF, to ensure that the needs of those affected by the floods are met. This new partnership agreement with UNICEF builds on a previous one to support the recovery of Attapeu following the 2018 floods,” said Ambassador Carrasco.

The assistance will focus on addressing the impact of the floods on children’s schooling and their health and nutrition.

In particular, the funds will help provide essential education materials as well as equipment for health screening and treatment of children in health centres, and district and provincial hospitals, paying special attention to the most affected districts which will be jointly identified with the respective ministries and provincial authorities.

“We welcome this grant from the Australian government, thanks to which UNICEF will support the government to consolidate data on the affected school-aged children, teachers, school facilities and required material, and will provide teaching-learning materials. The funds will also be used to assess the number of children aged 0-59 months who suffer from wasting; strengthen the capacity of health workers and village health volunteers in the affected areas to screen for, identify, manage and report on the number of children under five who are moderately or severely wasted and provide treatment; and to procure equipment for affected health centres and hospitals,” said UNICEF Representative Mr Octavian Bivol.

The support from Australia will contribute to UNICEF’s regular programming on education; health and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection; and will help to strengthen emergency preparedness. 

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