ADB President Visits Aceh: Task of Rehabilitation, Restoration and Bringing People's Lives to Normalcy Will be Huge

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA (7 January 2005) - Addressing a press conference today in Banda Aceh, ADB President Tadao Chino stated, "I am deeply overwhelmed by the pain and suffering and devastation that I saw during the Aceh visit." He said Aceh is the worst hit province by the earthquake and tsunami tidal wave.

Flying over Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, Mr. Chino, who was part of the joint team of key members of the Indonesian Cabinet and leaders of all key international financial institutions and the United Nations, was struck by the extent of damage to coastal and surrounding villages. "Besides enormous human loss, the soil erosion and degradation of the ecosystem is massive. The task ahead of rehabilitation and restoration of physical and social infrastructure and bringing people's lives to normalcy is going to be huge," said Mr. Chino.

The ADB President announced $675 million in initial support for Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. This includes grants and highly concessional funds of up to $500 million, in addition to reallocations from ongoing programs. ADB will be working closely with the governments and other development partners to undertake joint needs assessments of the losses and requirements. The Bank has already mobilized staff to work closely with the governments and other development partners to rehabilitate affected areas.

In separate meetings with Indonesian President Yudhoyono and Vice-President Kalla, Mr. Chino assured them of ADB's commitment to provide the necessary assistance effectively and in a timely fashion.