Aid agencies urge government to ensure Tsunami survivors are consulted on recovery

22/03/2005

As the 3-month anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami approaches, Hilary Benn has today been urged by aid agencies to ensure the tsunami’s survivors are consulted on the recovery stage of the aid effort.

At a meeting today at No 10 Downing Street agencies from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) updated Hilary Benn the Secretary of State for International Development on their work so far in response to the Tsunami disaster. The thirteen agencies that make up the DEC are working closely together to coordinate the aid effort on the ground. The agencies stressed that the planning process must have a long-term vision.

“Work funded by the British public through the DEC Appeal is already benefiting over three and a half million people. That’s rapid progress that has saved lives. The recovery phase is now well underway but rehabilitating the region is a long and complex task that will take several years”, said David Glencross, Chair of the DEC.

To date the DEC has allocated over £112 million of its Tsunami Appeal fund for the first phase of disaster relief in Asia, funding work that is benefiting an estimated 3.6 million people.

“Today’s meeting was a welcome opportunity to explain how we are helping people get back on their feet again. We have pledged to work together to restore livelihoods, and rebuild homes and communities”.

“The meeting was also a chance to impress upon the Government that real investment in disaster preparedness programmes is vital if we are to limit the catastrophic impact of future natural disasters. Such schemes would help disaster-prone communities better prepare for, respond to and recover from future crises,” said Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross.

Updated figures show that:

  • In India, over £23 million is benefiting over half a million people.
  • In Indonesia, almost £40 million is benefiting an estimated two million people.
  • In Sri Lanka, almost £41 million is benefiting over 1 million people.
  • In the Maldives, almost £1 million is befitting at least 3000 people.
  • In Somalia and east Africa, over £3.5 million is benefiting over 40,000 people.
  • In Thailand over £1 million is benefiting over 40,000 people.

The aid agencies also pressed the government to use their funds to support populations caught up in other emergencies, for example Darfur in Sudan, Uganda and other parts of Africa. These people are experiencing great suffering but are currently receiving less support and attention.