Indonesia + 2 more

Aid agencies pull out the stops four months on from tsunami, report finds

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As the nation remembers those who died in the Boxing Day Tsunami, an independent monitoring team on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) reported that member aid agencies have responded exceptionally well to meet the needs of the millions of people affected by the disaster that killed 300,000.

The team say that now the immediate emergency response is over, work to rebuild housing, schools and clinics is helping to secure the future of people worst hit. The DEC has so far allocated =A3112 million to its 13 member agencies from the =A3300 million raised by its Tsunami Earthquake Appeal and is now set to increase this for the first year's response.

"First reports from the independent consultants indicate that the aid agencies' effectiveness - including the speed of response and the high calibre of expertise deployed in the field - has been of a very high quality overall," said Brendan Gormley, DEC Chief Executive.

"Agencies have responded well to the enormous challenges that still remain and are working closely with governments and non-governmental organisations on the ground. Over the longer term housing, health and employment are particular priorities.

"This has been an extraordinary response to an extraordinary emergency - and the money donated by people across the UK is making a real difference to millions of people."

A memorial service for the UK victims of the Asian tsunami is to take place at St. Paul's Cathedral in London at 15.30 today in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Notes to Editors

1. For more information contact Richard Bunting in the DEC press office on 07753 488146.

2. For information about the St Paul's service, call Antonia Stratford on 020 7211 6360.

3. The DEC unites the leading independent humanitarian agencies in their efforts to maximise income from the people across the UK to mount an effective humanitarian response to major disasters overseas. Its members are: ActionAid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.