Saturday, 23 October 2010

Released by Defence Media Centre

The Australian Medical Task Force has successfully completed its aid mission in Pakistan and is returning to Australia.

The AusAID and Australian Defence Force (ADF) led Task Force was deployed at the request of the Pakistan Government to help relieve the immediate burden on local medical services following the devastating floods in July 2010.

Comprising approximately 180 Defence and civilian doctors, nurses, paramedics and support personnel, the Task Force provided primary medical care to the flood affected people of Kot Addu in central Punjab from 2 September 2010.

“Australia’s early intervention has helped ensure the humanitarian emergency in the region did not intensify,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd.

“Since the ‘Camp Cockatoo’ medical facility in Kot Addu opened its doors, over 11,000 flood affected people have received much needed medical treatment.”

“During the medical mission, Australian doctors and nurses treated over 3,000 cases of malaria.”

“The conditions in Kot Addu have now improved, and locally-based services are able to effectively manage their own medical needs, and Australian assistance is transitioning to meet the on-going needs of reconstruction.”

The United Nations reports that over 90 per cent of people in Punjab have returned to their homes and local hospitals are returning to their normal caseloads.

In addition to the medical Task Force, the Australian Government has committed $75 million in humanitarian, early recovery and reconstruction assistance to Pakistan since the floods began.

Australia is continuing to provide assistance through United Nations agencies, Australian non-government organisations (NGOs), and the Red Cross. There are currently 11 Australian experts assisting United Nations agencies in Pakistan, and other Australians on the ground to support the work of our NGOs.

The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, said the ADF and AusAID mission played a life-saving role in the Kot Addu area during the peak of the flood crisis.

“Members of the Task Force have worked hard to bring medical aid to the people of Pakistan during this unprecedented disaster. The Government thanks the military and civilian personnel who made this operation possible,” he said.

“Our relationship with the people of Kot Addu, the Pakistan Military and the Government of Pakistan has been strengthened through the efforts of the Australian contribution to the relief effort,” Mr Smith said.

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