Australia to deport asylum seekers to Tsunami Zone

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Australia — The Australian Government has said in response to the recent tsunami tragedy that it may take Sri Lankans as humanitarian refugees. Sri Lankans already in the Australian community, however, are being overlooked, according to Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition. The government issued hundreds of Sri Lankans their deportation orders on Christmas Eve, and similar conditions affect people from Aceh in Indonesia, near the epicenter of the quake.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) said it has had a special hotline running since December 30 in response to the tsunami disaster.

"People who usually live in an area that has been directly affected by the tsunamis and may wish to temporarily extend their stay in Australia should contact the Department on the hotline on 1300 735 683," a Department spokesperson said.