In the Aftermath of the Australian Bushfires, the FSM Donates $100,000 in Relief Aid

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Press Release

In the Aftermath of the Australian Bushfires, the FSM Donates $100,000 in Relief Aid

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On February 7th 2020 His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), signed Public Law 21-75. The law appropriates one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) from the General Fund of the FSM for the purpose of funding relief efforts in Australia due to the recent wildfires, which killed dozens of people, more than one billion animals, and destroyed more than 48,000 square kilometers of land.

“I am so proud of our Congress for this generous act of assistance to a friend in need,” President Panuelo said. “Although we are a developing country, we have the ability to tell our friends that we love them. Micronesians are renowned for their respect, compassion, and empathy with other people, and it’s important that we show that every way we can.”

“Our world is a better world when people listen to each other, respect each other, and show each other [empathy],” President Panuelo continued. “That said, [empathy] cannot stop fires—but sound environmental protection polices can. I encourage our Australian partners and friends to join the Pacific community in embracing the fight against Climate Change.”

The President noted that Australia is one of the FSM’s partners, friends and allies—and so Australia’s pain is Micronesia’s pain.

Australia, among other means of assistance, aids the FSM’s maritime security regime through the provision of material support (e.g. the building and gifting of patrol boats) and training. Additionally, Australian citizens throughout the Nation serve in the FSM’s education, health, and other sectors, through the Australian Volunteers International (AVI) program.

President Panuelo has a personal connection to Australia in that he is an alumnus of an Australian diplomatic training program. “My former life as a diplomat was largely made possible by the friendship and generosity that Australia shows the world,” the President said. “Many of our Nation’s most sustainable and beneficial programming exist because of Australia’s humanitarian assistance to the FSM. They’ve had our backs; we must have theirs.”

On January 6th the President had affirmed that the wildfires which devastated one of the Nation’s closet allies was a humanitarian crisis. “I can’t imagine any other word to describe people losing their homes and their livelihood, and the very Earth itself being robbed of its precious life,” the President said in January, and repeated again on February 8th in a long-form interview with Catherine Graue of ABC Australia’s Pacific Beat Program. (The bushfire segment can be found here: https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/pacific-beat-tuesday/11952962

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