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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Tsunami information: easily accessible

Thousands of people have accessed the Australian Government’s National Tsunami Website,  trying to find the most up to date information on available assistance, contact details, fact sheets, media releases and related links.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson said that since the website was launched on 3 January, there had been well in excess of 20,000 visits to the site.

“Australians are making full use of the site, which features information on Government assistance and an array of links to other related websites,” Senator Patterson said.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government’s package included assistance to eligible residents for domestic travel within Australia to reunite family members; funeral and associated costs; and help for people returning to Australia in exceptional circumstances.

“Direct financial assistance already provided to Australians has included reimbursement of medical costs and emergency accommodation and travel costs.

“The package also includes out of pocket costs for a wide range of healthcare for survivors and for counselling and psychological care of members of their families.

“The Australian Government will continue to work closely with the states and territories, domestic and international aid agencies, the business sector and members of the public to respond to this disaster,” Senator Patterson said.

There is also a 24 hour Tsunami Assistance hotline which offers information about assistance, including help with counselling and medical costs. The hotline number is 1800 057 111 (FreeCALL™).

For Australians wishing to check on friends and family members in affected areas the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also set up a hotline, on 1800 002 214 (FreeCALL™).

For Australian citizens and permanent residents with relatives in affected areas who want information about visa arrangements, contact the Immigration Tsunami Hotline on 1300 735 683.