Reality check Jun 2005: Post-tsunami issues and challenges
The Dec. 26 tsunami that hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia, Burma, Seychelles, and Somalia left 176,260 people dead; 12,773 missing; and more than 1 million displaced.
Two weeks after the disaster, governments around the world pledged US$1.2 billion to assist the nine countries worst hit by tsunami. A week later, the amount committed for tsunami relief jumped to almost US$4 billion. By April, according to various news reports, donors had pledged US$6.4 billion.
Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the United Nations (UN) reported that as of 8 June 2005, private and official donors have already pledged a total of US$4.2 billion for the tsunami victims. But of this amount, 33% or US$1.4 billion is still considered "uncommitted pledges", which represent the balance of donors' original pledges not yet committed.
The bulk of total pledges are comprised of private donors with 34%, followed by the world's traditional leading bilateral donors - Japan (18%) and the US (5%). Note, however, that while Japan has already committed or contributed all of its original pledge (US$502.6 million), the US still has 59% of its original pledge (US$352.5 million) uncommitted.
While described as one of the world's largest relief operations ever, the total amount pledged for the tsunami victims still falls way below of the estimated total cost of reconstruction, which is pegged at around US$12.5 billion. (The total economic losses, meanwhile, is estimated at US$15 billion for India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Thailand).
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