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Australia's top diplomat assures Samoa of support

The Australian High Commissioner, Sara Moriarty, has taken to social media to assure Samoa and the region that Australia will maintain its support despite its own challenges with Covid-19.

A video featuring Australia’s top diplomat in Samoa was posted on the Australian High Commission’s Facebook page recently, in which she talked about Samoa’s measles epidemic and Australia’s bushfires prior to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

"Australia and Samoa have supported each other to combat several challenges over recent months, including the measles epidemic here in Samoa and the Australian bush fire. But we have never faced the scale of COVID-19," she said.

"I firmly believe that adversity can bring us closer, and the way in which Australia and Samoa have combated these crises standing together demonstrates this. Now more than ever is the time to work together to protect our families, communities and our countries."

Australia recorded 100 deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday with the passing of a 93-year-old woman at an aged care facility in Sydney taking the nation’s death toll to the century-mark.

Ms Moriarty admitted the challenges that her country continues to face in tackling Covid-19, but that has not meant turning away from the region’s response to the pandemic.

"While Australia faces its own immediate challenges in tackling COVID-19, our support for our Pacific families is an essential part of our responsibility for our region’s health security and for our long term interests in a stable, prosperous and resilient Pacific," she added.

"With a sharp drop in tourism and economic activities in Samoa, more than a thousand people have lost their jobs. This is devastating for a small economy that is dependent on tourism and overseas remittances."

In response to the pandemic, Ms Moriarty said the Australian government has committed T$18.4 million (AU$10.5 million) to mitigate the economic and health shocks triggered by Covid-19.

She added that their support to the region will complement their aid program, which supports Samoa’s preparedness and response to a possible Covid-19 outbreak. 

As part of the Australian Aid Program, Ms Moriarty said that their key priorities during these times of crises are supporting vulnerable people and advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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