JAKARTA, INDONESIA (6 January 2005) - ADB is now prepared to provide an additional $500 million in support for three of the countries affected by the December earthquake and tsunami disaster, President Tadao Chino told the ASEAN Leaders' Special Meeting today.
Mr. Chino said that up to $500 million would be provided to Indonesia, Maldives, and Sri Lanka in the form of grants and highly concessional funds. In addition, more resources would be made available through reallocations from ongoing programs, estimated at $175 million.
Speaking at the Jakarta meeting, which brings together world leaders and heads of international agencies to discuss measures for relief and reconstruction in the countries hit by the disaster, he said: "We will make every effort to ensure these funds are rapidly and effectively disbursed for priority projects and programs."
"We are also in discussion with other affected countries to determine their needs for assistance. Moreover, based on detailed country assessments, now underway, ADB is ready to provide significant additional funding to help longer-term reconstruction."
He said that an enormous task lies ahead for the affected countries, in which early responses must be followed quickly by a massive, closely coordinated, international effort to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of all those affected.
"ADB stands ready to deploy its expertise and resources towards this effort," he said.
He said ADB's priorities are
- To work closely with governments and development partners to launch joint needs assessments in the affected countries to prioritize the use of funds.
- Based on the joint needs assessments to work with each country to put together tailored assistance packages, maximizing the use of grants and highly concessional funds. These will be used for high priority social and physical infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation, schools and health clinics, roads, bridges, power transmissions and distribution systems, as well as to provide livelihood opportunities.
- Ensure that resources get to where they are needed quickly and efficiently, through streamlined procedures and good coordination with governments, development agencies, and NGOs.
ADB is also prepared to lead and fund a $1 million study to develop a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, Mr. Chino told the meeting.
He said such a system would have saved countless lives had it already been in place.
"While we cannot control the forces of nature, we may be able to prevent, in future, the magnitude of human loss that we are experiencing today," Mr. Chino said.
In his speech, the ADB President once more expressed his deepest sympathy for the victims of the disaster, which has resulted in the loss of more than 150,000 lives around the Indian Ocean, destroyed homes and infrastructure and services, and displaced thousands.
"We are deeply moved by the response of governments, the international community, civil society organizations, local NGOs and private citizens from around the world," he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with those have lost their families and their homes, and with all who have stepped forward to offer relief and hope."
He said the Jakarta meeting has provided the international community with a unique opportunity to come together to reaffirm a shared commitment to help the region recover as quickly as possible from the devastation tragedy.
"Time and again, the Asian people have demonstrated their resilience and ability to overcome adversity," Mr. Chino concluded. "With the outpouring of support from around the world, I am certain Asia will again rise to the challenge of rebuilding for the future."