Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

World leaders discuss tsunami help in Jakarta

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© UNICEF/ HQ05-0023/Jim Holmes
INDONESIA: A girl, Fariza Nadia, stands by a tent she is sharing with her family in a relief camp in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

NEW YORK, 6 January 2005 – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said today that tsunami-devastated regions in Asia urgently need a billion dollars to provide water, food and shelter over the next six months.

He met with the leaders of 26 nations in Jakarta, Indonesia today to discuss how to manage the most serious natural disaster in recent history. More than three billion dollars in aid has been promised to the stricken region and Annan asked that those promises be turned into cash.

Annan said Singapore, Australia, and India, backed up by the US military, will represent the core group of logistical support. “The UN is in the lead with regards to the co-ordination of the humanitarian effort,” he said. “The core group is made up of countries which had assets in the region – military and otherwise.”

"We will never know the exact magnitude of how many men, women and children perished on the 26 of December and the 11 days since then," Mr Annan told reporters.

The World Health Organization estimates that five million people have lost housing, shelter, water or food supplies as a result of the disaster and an estimated 1.5 million children have been affected or displaced.

Of the billion dollars urgently needed, more than 400 million dollars is required for water and food, health costs are estimated at over 100 million dollars and 60 million is needed for water and sanitation.

The meeting also promised a tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean similar to the one that exists for the Pacific Ocean. Japan has promised its technical assistance in setting up the system. Tsunamis are far more common in the Pacific Ocean and its warning system is estimated to have saved thousands of lives.

“As a world community we should not be counting costs today so that in future we will not be counting lives lost,” said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who opened the meeting with a minute of silence in remembrance of the disaster’s victims.

The leaders proposed that debt payments to the affected nations be suspended, a suggestion that will be discussed when the G7 finance ministers meet next month.


 

 

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6 January 2005: A billion dollars in aid urgently needed.

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