Australia will hold a national dayof mourning on Jan. 16 for the Indian Ocean tsunami victims, Prime Minister John Howard announced Wednesday.
He told reporters here that he will attend a mass service on the day.
"Many Australians will mark that by attending church services, others will choose to do it different ways," he said.
He was telling a press conference prior to his departure later Wednesday for Jakarta, where he will attend a global summit on assistance to the disaster.
He said Australia will provide further assistance to tsunami-hit countries. "What that assistance will be and precisely where and in what form is something to be further discussed and decided," he said.
Media reports said Howard may offer an aid package worth at least 500 million dollars (US$385 million) when he is in Jakarta.
"In a situation like this it's important that you provide generous, immediate pledges of financial help, ... as the extent of the disaster and the type of response needed crystallize you provide further assistance," he said.
He also praised Australians for their voluntary aid to tsunami victims, which has reached more than 85 million dollars (US$65.4 million).
(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2005)