AUSTRALIAN MP URGES REDIRECTING OF AID TO PNG

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CANBERRA, Australia (April 27, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Australian Minister of Parliament, Warren Entsch, says the latest Papua New Guinea flood crisis shows that financial aid to the country needs to be redirected.

Nearly 100 people from a Western Province village hit by the severe flooding have been seeking medical care on Saibai Island, off Australia's north coast.

Entsch says more of Australia's aid money to PNG should be used to set up health care facilities to take pressure off services in Australia's north.

"We certainly should be able to get considerable clout given the amount of aid that is given to Papua New Guinea.

"I think it's time that some of that money is put into those areas to ensure that those people at least have basic services. At the moment, they have absolutely nothing," said the Minister.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA CONFIDENT NO MORE PEOPLE WILL SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION ON AUSTRALIAN ISLAND

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 27, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Officials in Papua New Guinea are confident there will be no further movement of people from flood affected areas to Australia's Saibai island in the Torres Strait.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that over 100 people went to Saibai seeking medical help.

"Floods further north, in Papua New Guinea's Western Province, have caused some major problems. Along the coastal areas, the flooding is less serious, but outbreaks of disease have been reported in areas where health facilities are almost non-existent.

"Over 100 people have made the short journey across the border with Australia to Saibai Island seeking medical assistance.

"Papua New Guinea has sent a health worker to Sigabutaroo village, where most of the people came from, and AusAid is checking the situation there today.

"On Saibai, the situation is now under control, and officials on both sides say they don't expect any more people to cross the border."

"Richard Dinnen, Port Moresby."

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