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Sat 24 Nov 2012 10:08 AM

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Abu Dhabi pays $30m for Oz cyclone shelters

Gov't chiefs fund project to aid Queensland after devastation left by Cyclone Yasi in 2011

Abu Dhabi pays $30m for Oz cyclone shelters

Abu Dhabi has part funded a $60m project to build 10 cyclone shelters in the state of Queensland, Australia.

The Government of Abu Dhabi offered half of the money needed and Khaled Al Ghaith, the UAE's assistant foreign minister for economic affairs, has inaugurated the first shelter in Yeppoon, news agency WAM reported.

The category five cyclone shelters will be used as multi-purpose centres all year round and Australian officials have hailed the donation as a "great gift of friendship from the people of Abu Dhabi to the people of Queensland".

The shelters, which are built along the northern coast of Queensland, are designed to provide protection for more than 500 people from winds of up to 300km an hour.

In early 2011, Cyclone Yasi caused devastation across Queensland and total losses from the storm were estimated to total more than $3.5bn.

Al Ghaith said: "The United Arab Emirates and Australia are important bilateral partners and the opening of the Yeppoon Cyclone Shelter is a further example of the strength and depth of that relationship.

"These cyclone shelters will not only provide viable disaster relief infrastructure, but will also provide command, control and care to the remotest and most-at-risk communities in potential times of crisis.

"This shelter will help safeguard people's lives for years to come in the event of a cyclone and will be used as a multi-sports facility for year-round use by the local community."

Jeff Seeney, deputy premier and minister of state development, infrastructure and planning, said: "Most Queenslanders will never forget the destruction of the natural disasters of late 2010 and early 2011 and other events like Cyclone Larry.

"The construction of the ten cyclone shelters in the program would not have been possible without the $30m donation from the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi."

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