|VOICE OF AMERICA|
SLUG: 2-321564 Disaster Conference L
TITLE=DISASTER CONFERENCE (LONG)
HEADLINE: UN Seeks More Aid, Coordination at Tsunami Relief Summit
INTRO: World leaders in Jakarta pledged to closely coordinate relief efforts for the victims of the Indian Ocean disaster, and backed the creation of a tsunami warning system in the region. As Nancy-Amelia Collins reports from the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, part of this cooperation includes a U.S.-led group of core donor countries folding its efforts into the United Nations' operations.
TEXT: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told world leaders that at least one billion dollars in promised aid must be spent immediately to save lives. He warned Thursday that disease will kill more people if urgent action is not taken soon.
/// ANNAN ACT ///
"To protect the maximum number of lives, to restore dignity and hope, our assistance must be timely and well-coordinated. Many of the pledges have come to us in cash and in kind; we need the rest of the pledges to be converted into cash quickly."
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Annan spoke at a Jakarta meeting to coordinate long-term relief areas for the 12 nations hit by last month's disaster. Nearly four billion dollars in government and U.N. aid has been pledged to help rebuild the region.
Leaders from more than two dozen countries discussed debt relief to help affected nations rebuild, and endorsed proposals to build a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean.
Such a system might have reduced the death toll from the December 26th earthquake and tsunami, which left more than 150-thousand people dead and millions homeless. Two-thirds of those killed were in Indonesia's Aceh province.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned the gathering that the task of rebuilding will be a long one.
/// YUDHOYONO ACT ///
"In the mid- and long-term, we face the challenge of rehabilitating human lives and human communities. Infrastructures must be rebuilt and sources of livelihood must be re-established."
/// END ACT ///
Among the leaders at the one-day summit were Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Yunichiro Koizumi and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
To increase coordination, Secretary Powell said an early effort by the United States, Australia, India and Japan to lead relief efforts would be folded into the larger U.N.-led operation. He also indicated the U.S. aid pledge of 350 million dollars probably would grow, but did not say by how much.
/// REST OPT ///
Even as the summit was going on, Aceh was rocked by aftershocks from the December 26th earthquake, frightening residents and sending many near the coast racing inland. (SIGNED)
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|