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Published:December 26th, 2006 12:34 EST
U.S. Government Has Provided $841 Million in Tsunami Assistance

U.S. Government Has Provided $841 Million in Tsunami Assistance

By SOP newswire

Washington -- The U.S. government has provided some $841 million in recovery assistance to the nations ravaged by the Indian Ocean tsunami that struck on December 26, 2004, a summary update prepared by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shows.

The USAID fact sheet, issued December 22, details efforts undertaken in the intervening two years by that agency as well as the departments of Defense and Agriculture.

In addition to the U.S. government response, the fact sheet notes, American private citizens and organizations have provided more than $1.8 billion in cash and in-kind donations. It attributes that estimate to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

“Today, the U.S. government’s reconstruction efforts continue to include support to programs that are identified by the affected communities themselves:  rebuilding roads; helping individuals return to their original livelihoods; training (particularly women) to develop new skills; strengthening the community governance and political infrastructure; and supporting host government-led early warning/disaster preparedness efforts,” the USAID statement says.

It cites country-by-country examples of programs supported by the U.S. government -- in particular by a $656 million Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction Fund established in May 2005 -- that include:

• Indonesia ($405.7 million) -- The aid was devoted to such efforts as providing community health clinics, training midwives and psychosocial caregivers, reopening a stretch of the coastal road from Banda Aceh to Meulaboth, building homes to house almost 2,000 internally displaced persons and greatly expanding access to clean water.

• Sri Lanka ($134.6 million) -- The U.S. and Sri Lankan governments signed an agreement in September 2005 to defer and reschedule debt payments falling due in 2005. A tourism campaign contributed to recovery in European visitor arrivals to 67 percent of pre-tsunami levels. A $6 million livelihoods assistance program has helped 34,890 households. More than 8,800 persons have been trained for new employment, over 2,000 households received loans, and more than 9,000 community organizations and businesses have been assisted.

• India ($17.9 million) -- Some 16,000 children were provided with psychosocial support and linked with government educational and nutritional programs. Other programs involved construction of seven water purification plants, 10 wastewater treatment systems and 20 waste management facilities.

• Maldives ($12.0 million) -- The U.S. government is funding installation of sewage systems, harbor repair, power systems repairs and upgrades to public accounting systems.

• Thailand ($5.3 million) -- U.S. assistance has replaced many fishing boats lost in the disaster and provided loans and small business training to 500 micro-entrepreneurs.

The USAID compilation also cites $31.8 million in assistance designed to benefit the entire region affected.

The full text of the USAID fact sheet is available on the agency's Web site.

For more information on U.S. assistance programs, see Partnership for a Better Life and Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: