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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (October 19, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Officials in the Marshall Islands say U.S. compensation for injuries caused by nuclear tests in the region will run out next week.

The final payments will be made on Monday from a $45 million compensation fund.

Nuclear Claims Tribunal chairman Oscar deBrum said the fund is almost exhausted.

By the end of September, 6,460 claims had been filed with the tribunal, which has made 1,694 personal injury awards totaling $72.9 million.

The Marshall Islands government has petitioned the U.S. Congress to provide the $27 million shortfall, adding more than 40 percent of nuclear claimants have died without receiving full compensation.

Mr deBrum said he is optimistic that the U.S. Congress will provide the funds.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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