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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2430

US Contribution to Asian Tsunami Unprecedented 841 Million Dollars

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 26 December (Asiantribune.com): The U.S. government has provided some $841 million in recovery assistance to the nations ravaged by the Indian Ocean tsunami that struck on December 26, 2004, a summary update prepared by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shows.

The USAID fact sheet, issued December 22, details efforts undertaken in the intervening two years by that agency as well as the departments of Defense and Agriculture.

In the days immediately following the December 26, 2004 tsunami and earthquake, swift action by the U.S. government, in cooperation with other donors and private organizations, ensured critical needs for water and sanitation were met, thus preventing a secondary disaster-related health crisis from occurring.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. government agencies launched a comprehensive reconstruction program with $656 million provided by Congress in May 2005 and signed into law by President Bush for the Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction Fund (including $31.3 million for efforts to combat the spread of avian influenza). When added to the funds spent by the Department of Defense on emergency recovery assistance and relief aid, as well as food aid provided by USDA, U.S. government assistance totals $841 million.

In addition to the U.S. government response, the American people responded in great numbers. According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the total for U.S. private tsunami donations, including both cash and in-kind donations, is more than $1.8 billion.

Today, the U.S. government’s reconstruction efforts continue to include support to programs that are identified by the affected communities themselves: rebuilding roads; helping individuals return to their original livelihoods; training (particularly women) to develop new skills; strengthening the community governance and political infrastructure; and supporting host government-led early warning/disaster preparedness efforts. Additional details on the programs underway with the $656 million provided by the Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction Fund follow:

Indonesia ($405.7 million):

Installing and equippws community health clinics in 13 markets. More than 150 midwives and 150 psychosocial caregivers trained. Reopened 80 km of the coastal road from Banda Aceh to Meulaboh. 490 homes built benefiting close to 2,000 internally displaced persons.

Population with access to clean water increased by 20 per cent – from December 2005 through June 2006 – through repair or reconstruction of more than 1,580 water facilities, 2,015 latrines, 93,000 meters of sewage system and one new sewage treatment plant. 82,000m of irrigation canal and 6,700m of drainage ditches cleared.

79 community centers, 47 village offices and 58 recreational facilities rebuilt; providing essential space for re-establishing communities.

More than 18,000 grants and loans provided to re-establish or start new businesses. 1,200 female entrepreneurs now have access to capital through community-managed revolving funds.

7,000 farmers trained in organic coffee production and marketing, and microfinance provided to help re-establish savings and assets.

350 Acehnese youth trained in vocational education programs.
Technical assistance provided to key reconstruction agencies; trained over 2,000 local government officials in planning and budgeting.

U.S. Government and Government of Indonesia signed agreement to defer and reschedule debt payments totaling approximately $20.1 million. Agreement will free resources for GOI to spend on reconstruction services for its citizens, including constructing houses and providing housing vouchers.

Successful implementation of democratic and peaceful local elections in Aceh Province as part of a peace agreement signed between Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement. Provided election administration and oversight as well as voter education programs.

Sri Lanka ($134.6 million):

U.S. and Sri Lankan Governments signed agreement in September 2005 to defer and reschedule debt payments falling due in 2005.

Tourism Bounce Back Campaign contributed to recovery in European visitor arrivals to 67% of pre-tsunami levels. Included technical assistance to both Sri Lanka Tourism Board and EU Travel Agents.

Launched $2.3 million post-tsunami anti-corruption program to train over 250 members of Auditor General’s office and training for trainers that will reach 1,200 staff charged with preventing corruption.

Provided $6 million of livelihoods assistance to 34,890 households, exceeding the target of 29,000. More than 8,800 persons trained for new employment, over 2,000 households received loans, and more than 9,000 community organizations and businesses assisted.

Construction underway on new $10.6 million Arugam Bay Bridge. Bridge will be 185m long and will link three coastal villages with strong tourism potential.

Work is underway on a $9.78 million contract to upgrade three fishing harbors. Completion expected March 2008.

25 of 85 playgrounds constructed. Completion expected by June 2007.
Upgraded nine public hospitals and community centers for disability access. Advocacy and awareness activities for schools in conjunction with Ministry of Education continue.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a $561,000 grant to promote supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities in two districts through training to the general public and local water technicians.

India ($17.9 million):

16,000 children in anti-trafficking database provided with psychosocial support and linked with government educational and nutritional programs.

Seven water purification plants constructed benefiting 6,100 families.

Ten community-based wastewater treatment systems constructed and commissioned. 20 waste management facilities constructed benefiting 8,900 families. Disaster management committees formed in 5,200 communities.

Maldives ($12.0 million):

U.S. Government is funding installation of sewage systems, harbor repair, power systems repairs and upgrades to public accounting systems.

Thailand ($5.3 million):

U.S. Government continues to support sustainable coastal livelihoods and community resilience, having replaced many lost fishing boats and provided loans and small business training to 500 micro-entrepreneurs. Provided capital for 25 new micro-enterprises. 10 new Peace Corps Volunteers are providing teacher training and community outreach activities.

- Asian Tribune -

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