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Refugee ‘Info Line’ for family and friends

Department of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) have set up a phone line for family and friends to seek information about survivors from the boat tragedy

The number is  1300 724 010

They collect information from callers but cannot give information

They say that if they locate a survivor, they will “encourage” survivors to contact their family or friends  to let them know that they have survived.

They say that they do not yet have a complete list of names of survivors so are unable to confirm if someone is alive even with Name; Date of Birth and town and country of origin

The problem with this is that

  1. One man is unconscious in a Perth hospital – he is unable to ring. Other injured people are in CXIs hospital and Perth hospital with most people at North West Point
  2. The survivors will have lost their phones in the water or they will be inoperable. Many people keep numbers in their phones and will not be able to recall long numbers so will not be able to call. we know that this the reality from past experience
  3. Christmas island is overcrowded right now and as we know there is a shortage of phones in the camp resulting in many having to wait days to get a turn.

All personal mobiles are confiscated so only camp phones are available

I asked if these calls would be facilitated but could not get an assurance that this was possible

The result is very distressed relatives believing that the worst has happened because they have not had a call

— Pamela Curr, Campaign Coordinator, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, 12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003, ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075,

“AUSTRALIA. Built by boatpeople.”

[Editors Note: ‘Migloo’ is the  aboriginal word for boat people literally meaning ‘many waters, many travel’

‘She looked at me not as an individual, or as a male, or as a well meaning academic, but as a white man, a migloo, with a fear that was not personal at all but historical and communal and unforgettable’ (H. Reynolds, The Other Side of the Frontier, 1981)]

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