Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced Australia would establish a new civilian corps to help with regional disasters, local media reported on October 25.
According to the Australian Associated Press (AAP), PM Rudd announced the new initiative, which will be managed by the Office of the Deployable Civilian Capability (DCC), at a meeting of the East Asia Summit in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin on October 25.
The Australian Government will create a registry of about 500 civilian specialists - including people with medical, engineering and construction experience - who can be rapidly deployed to disaster zones. Those on the registry can be sent to help neighbouring countries in an emergency such as the recent earthquakes that affected Samoa and Indonesia , PM Rudd said.
"These civilian specialists will complement rather than replace existing humanitarian response mechanisms and longer-term development assistance," PM Rudd was quoted as saying.
The corps is expected to be fully operational by 2011 and will cost 52 million AUD over five years./.