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South Asia; Agencies urge government to ensure Tsunami survivors are consulted on recovery

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DEC PRESS RELEASE: 22nd March 2005

As the three-month anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami approaches, aid agencies today urged Hilary Benn 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, Secretary of State for International Development, on their work so far in response to the tsunami disaster. The thirteen DEC agencies, working closely together to coordinate the aid effort, 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.

"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," adds David Glencross.

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.

"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 people caught up in other emergencies, for example Darfur in Sudan, Northern Uganda and other parts of Africa. These people are experiencing great suffering but are currently receiving less support and attention.

Ends

Notes for editors

1. The Disasters Emergency Committee is an umbrella organisation of Britain's 13 leading aid agencies that launches and coordinates Britain's national appeal in response to major disasters overseas.

2. Members of the DEC are: ActionAid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision.

For media enquiries only please contact:

DEC Press Office on 0207 387 0200 or Mobile: 07753 488 146
Sylvie White, Tearfund on 020 943 7936 or 07949 181414