The United Nations has asked the world to provide an extra 736 million euros for the victims of Asia’s killer tidal wave. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made the appeal at a major conference in Jakarta, which will plot a recovery plan. More than 2.2 billion euros have already been pledged for the tsunami victims, but Annan said the additional sum was needed for specific humanitarian programmes over the next six months.
At the start of the one-day summit in the Indonesian capital, a minute’s silence was held for the estimated 155,000 people who died in the disaster. Those attending include US Secretary of State Colin Powell, EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and the head of the EU presidency Jean-Claude Juncker.
Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged regional powers to cooperate on a tidal wave warning system. Relieving debt for countries affected by the tragedy is also on the agenda. Several rich nations have already signalled their willingness to do so.
So far the European Union has emerged as the main benefactor of the stricken region, with an aid pledge of 936 million euros, of which Germany is providing the largest contribution. Australia has substantially increased its commitment to become the second largest donor, followed by Japan and the US.