News and Information
UN demands swift cash from donors
|January 11, 2005
| The UN official co-ordinating aid for tsunami survivors has urged donor countries to release cash more quickly for the relief effort.
Speaking at the start of an international meeting in Geneva, Jan Egeland said only one-tenth of aid pledged had so far been received.
The response so far had shown "humanity at its very best", he said.
But he also warned that donor countries must not neglect other humanitarian crises around the world.
The Geneva meeting comes five days after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan chaired a donor conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he issued a call for almost $1bn in urgent aid.
In other developments in the Indian Ocean region:
The Indonesian army tells foreign aid workers in Aceh to register to travel outside Banda Aceh and Meulaboh
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga wants to adopt a Tamil child orphaned by the tsunami as a gesture of goodwill towards the Tamil community, an aide says
An Acehnese man is rescued by an Arab container ship after two weeks drifting at sea following the tsunami
International police agency Interpol sets up what is thought to be the biggest disaster victim identification centre in history, in the Thai resort of Phuket.
Tuesday's conference is discussing a practical timetable for delivering aid to the region.
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Delegates representing governments and aid agencies are attending, including US aid chief Andrew Natsios, EU development commissioner Louis Michel and senior ministers from Britain, France and Germany.
Mr Egeland, who is chairing the meeting, said around $300m had been committed to projects on the ground in the tsunami-hit region, out of $3.4bn in formally recorded aid pledges.
"We need very quickly more signed contracts, more cash, more concrete commitments to help keep this massive effort going in the next six months," he said.
But he said that the outbreak of disease and starvation the UN had feared in the wake of the tsunami disaster did not seem to be happening.
The UN co-ordinator listed at least a dozen regions where UN agencies are struggling to meet the basic needs of millions of people.
He pointed out that the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 1,000 people die daily of preventable diseases or because of the conflict there, suffered the equivalent of a tsunami every five months.
Each year, Mr Egeland said, the UN launches an appeal for aid work but actual funds always fall well short of pledges.
Phil Bloomer, head of UK-based charity Oxfam, said this was "crunch time" to make sure the pledges were realised.
"This is not the time for empty rhetoric," he said, quoted by AFP news agency. "The eyes of the world are on this meeting and we want guarantees that the aid will not be diverted from other disasters and other suffering people."
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