Indonesia Pledges Aussie Flood Aid

Indonesia is donating $1 million to Australia to help victims of the flooding in Brisbane, which includes dozens of Indonesians.

“We have a report that says 79 Indonesians are currently taking refuge in 12 evacuation centers that have been established by the local authorities,” said Michael Tene, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta.

He said that number might rise as flooding in the city continued.

Deadly floodwaters that have cut a swath across northeastern Australia flowed onto the streets of the country’s third-largest city on Wednesday, forcing people to flee suburbs and skyscrapers.

Brisbane Mayor Campbell Newman said almost 20,000 homes could be swamped in the city of about two million by the time the Brisbane River reached its expected peak today.

At least 16 people have died and more than 51 have been reported missing.

According to Fahmi, an official at the Indonesian Consulate General in Sydney, there are about 5,000 Indonesian citizens living in Brisbane.

“Those Indonesians whose houses have not been affected by the flooding are using their houses as shelters in an effort to help the Australian government,” Fahmi said.

Most of the Indonesians who have been forced to evacuate their homes, he added, live close to the river.

Both Michael and Fahmi said the information they had received so far indicated that all of the Indonesians in Brisbane were safe and accounted for.

They added that there had been no reports of Indonesians being injured in the flooding.

“There are sufficient supplies and we have not received any urgent requests from the evacuees so far,” Fahmi said.

Michael said the consulate in Sydney had set up a hot line, which can be reached at +614?1620?8869.

The hot line is available for any Indonesians who are seeking information or help related to the Brisbane flooding.

“Indonesians can call this center whenever they need help. Their families here [in Indonesia] can call this number too to seek any information they need regarding their family’s situation in Brisbane,” he said.

Regarding the donation, Michael said Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had contacted his Australian counterpart, Kevin Rudd, on Wednesday morning and told him “the funds would be sent immediately.”

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