Sri Lanka + 1 more

Luxembourg and Australia make first bilateral contributions totaling $5 million to ADB tsunami fund

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES (15 July 2005) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has received its first bilateral contributions to the Asian Tsunami Fund (ATF), amounting to nearly US$5 million. The Government of Luxembourg has contributed US$1 million and the Government of Australia US$3.8 million equivalent.

The ATF was approved in February to deliver emergency grants to tsunami-affected countries, with ADB making an initial contribution of US$600 million. ADB accepts contributions to the Fund from bilateral, multilateral, and individual sources.

"We are very grateful for these first contributions from Luxembourg and Australia, that will support much needed interventions to restore livelihoods and reduce poverty in tsunami stricken areas," says Werner Liepach, Director of ADB's Office of Cofinancing Operations. "We hope that they will set a precedent for other donors to follow."

Luxembourg's contribution will be used for the rehabilitation of irrigation schemes in the Indonesian district of Nias, North Sumatra, enabling some 5,000 families to substantially increase their farm net income.

Australia's contribution is earmarked for reconstruction work in Sri Lanka, which suffered overall damage estimated at about $1 billion and losses equivalent to 4.4% of gross domestic product in the December 2004 tragedy.

Six months on, $572 million of ATF has been earmarked for emergency reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in India, Indonesia, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, and for technical assistance in Thailand. The $300 million in funds approved in April for Indonesia was the single biggest grant in ADB's history.

ADB's total financial commitment on tsunami assistance stands at about $775 million, which includes $175 million that can be redirected from ongoing projects and programs for the tsunami effort.

The Asian Development Bank is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 63 members, with 45 from the region. In 2004, it approved loans and technical assistance totaling $5.3 billion and $196.6 million, respectively.

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