ADB Approves $600 Million Emergency Fund for Tsunami-Affected Countries

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (17 February 2005) - ADB's Board of Directors today approved the setting up of a multidonor Asian Tsunami Fund, with ADB making its own initial contribution of US$600 million, to deliver prompt emergency funding to tsunami-affected countries.

The Fund will pool and deliver grants for emergency technical assistance and investment projects to support reconstruction and rehabilitation in India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and now Thailand.

"We see this as a mechanism to attract funds from multiple donors for a structured, systematic and transparent flow of funds to tsunami affected countries, while upholding the strongest standards of governance," says Philip Erquiaga, Principal Director of ADB's Office of Cofinancing Operations.

ADB will accept contributions to the Fund from bilateral, multilateral, and individual sources, including companies and foundations.

The money will be used exclusively for prompt restoration of services to affected people. Possible sectors could include public services such as water supply and sanitation, electricity, and communications; infrastructure such as roads, railways, and ports; health and education services; agriculture and fisheries; housing; restoring livelihoods; and containment of environmental damage.

ADB is working with governments to expeditiously deliver the assistance packages at country level. Resources from the Fund will be made available to the tsunami-affected countries based on the outcomes of needs assessment activities that ADB has been carrying out jointly with the World Bank, UN system, and other agencies.

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

To coordinate assistance to tsunami affected countries, ADB will host a high-level meeting on 18 March. The meeting will take stock of recovery achievements and pledges of support, and seek to reach a common understanding of the major considerations in delivering effective rehabilitation and reconstruction programs over the next four to five years.

Ministers from the affected countries, donor countries, and senior representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank and other multilateral organizations have been invited to attend.