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Indonesian Humanitarian Assistance

Fact Sheet released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State, March 24, 1998
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The United States Government and private sector have several programs that will alleviate the plight of the Indonesian people and help the 12,500 Indonesian students in the U.S. complete their studies so they can return to rebuild their country.

NEW PROGRAMS -- totaling $70 million plus:

-- USAID will make available $25 million in PL-480 Title II funds to provide food aid to be distributed by private voluntary organizations to the rural poor in Eastern Indonesia, where the economic crisis has been exacerbated by an ongoing drought.
-- USAID will provide $6 million in essential medical supplies to meet immediate needs of the poor.
-- USAID is considering a request for $14 million in loan guarantees to support labor intensive, small-scale infrastructure construction projects targeted to hard-hit, needy urban areas.
-- USDA will make available $25 million in concessionary loans under the PL-480 Title I program for public sector purchases of U.S. food; although the precise amounts and commodities must be negotiated, the assistance will facilitate imports of products that USDA has identified as being in short supply, such as wheat, soybeans and rice, as a result of drought-induced crop reductions, much less favorable exchange rate, and the general economic downturn.
-- INS will relax its rules temporarily to permit students from Indonesia (and other countries affected by the crisis) to finance their continued studies in the United States through employment.
-- The U.S.-ASEAN Business Council will provide financial assistance to enable Indonesian students already attending American universities to complete their studies.

ONGOING PROGRAMS -- totaling over $520 million:

-- USAID has a $45 million development assistance program in Indonesia, virtually all of which is now targeted to economic reforms--such as providing technical assistance on banking supervision, monetary policy, bankruptcy law, and small business--and efforts to strengthen Indonesia's social safety net--such as focusing public health spending on the neediest and assisting the urban poor.
-- USAID has redirected $15.5 million in undisbursed prior year funds supplementing the above to address financial and social aspects of the current crisis.
-- USDA has made available a potential $400 million in GSM-102 credit guarantees to facilitate private sector purchases of agricultural commodities, once the immediate need has been addressed by PL-480 credits; to make it easier for Indonesian importers to buy U.S. agricultural commodities in light of uncertainty about the creditworthiness of Indonesian banks, USDA will also permit eligible banks in Singapore to participate. In addition, another $10 million is available largely for animal breeding stock under the GSM-103 program.
-- USDA has included Indonesia for potential use of the $50 million regional program for the Suppliers Credit Guarantee Program for transactions usually conducted on open accounts or otherwise without letters of credit.

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Link to March 24, 1998 briefing by Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat.
Link to March 24, 1998 statement by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Aurelia Brazeal.

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