Jakarta – Australia is set to disburse aid totaling AU$4.9 million (US$3.3 million) to the United Nations Children's Fund to support Indonesia's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
In a joint statement, the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and UNICEF said that with the new funding, they would work together "to maintain essential health services in communities, strengthen the health system, improve basic water, sanitation and hygiene practices [and] supply critical goods".
The aid would also be utilized to make sure that women, children and vulnerable communities have access to nutrition interventions.
"As a close friend and long-term partner to Indonesia whose futures are inseparable, we have a shared interest in combating COVID-19 and its impacts and Australia is pleased to partner with UNICEF to support immediate health and humanitarian needs," Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan said on Monday.
UNICEF has been working closely with Indonesia to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on communities, including to deliver life-saving medical supplies and support the continuation of health and nutrition services, provide essential water and sanitation activities and keep children connected to education, the statement read.
Australia has also changed the orientation of its development program in Indonesia to respond directly to the global pandemic, including pouring out an additional AU$21 million in immediate support to Indonesia's health, humanitarian and economic response.
"With millions of Indonesian children and families at risk of lifelong consequences from COVID-19, the contribution from Australia comes at a pivotal and opportune moment," UNICEF representative Debora Comini said.
"It will help UNICEF support government health services [and] expand community outreach programs and public awareness campaigns in response to the pandemic."
Previously, Australia disbursed aid totaling AU$6.2 million to support Indonesia's COVID-19 mitigation efforts through the World Health Organization.
Australia's neighbor New Zealand had also contributed to Jakarta's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts by disbursing aid totaling NZ$5 million (US$3 million). (asp)