UN’s tsunami relief appeal looks at needs both massive and modest

Tsunami wreckage

6 January 2005 – The nearly $1 billion United Nations flash appeal that Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched today for the survivors of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami ranges from the massive cost of feeding 2 million people for the next six months to relatively more modest pin-point goals such as replacing lost fishing boats.

At the top end is $256 million sought by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) – $185 million to provide crucial assistance for 2 million people and $71 million to boost logistics, transport and communications for the entire humanitarian community in view of the huge difficulties of reaching remote areas in a region where the infrastructure has been destroyed.

“This is more than just a disaster for those countries directly concerned, it is a truly global disaster,” WFP Executive Director James Morris said in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta where Mr. Annan launched the overall $977 million appeal – the largest ever by the UN for a natural disaster.

At the lower end the UN Food and Agriculture (FAO) is seeking $26 million to finance emergency rehabilitation projects over the next six months for farmers and fishermen, such as replacing lost boats and fishing gear or repairing damaged installations.

“To enable both their rehabilitation and livelihoods, the best assistance we can offer them is an early opportunity to repair their boats and their fishing nets,” Mr. Annan told a news conference after launching the appeal. “If we give them quick financial support, building materials and other resources, they will make their own recovery.”

The Chief of FAO’s Emergency Operations Service, Fernanda Guerrieri, warned that over the long run the costs would be much higher.

And the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is requesting $28 million to help meet urgent health, hygiene and protection needs for women and youth in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the three countries hardest hit by the catastrophic tsunami. Targeted goals include medicines and supplies to enable pregnant women to deliver safely, emergency obstetric care, and hygiene kits including soap, washcloths and sanitary napkins for tens of thousands of women.

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