MANILA, PHILIPPINES (28 January 2005) - ADB today announced its plan to establish a $600 million multidonor Asian Tsunami Trust Fund to provide rapid reconstruction and technical assistance to countries most affected by the December 2004 disaster.

With the approval of ADB's shareholders, the new Fund will be able to provide grants and highly concessional loans out of internal funds, as well as provide an efficient vehicle for additional assistance from bilateral and other multilateral donors. ADB will put in place specially streamlined procedures that will sharply reduce processing times and ensure that these funds are put to work with minimal delay.

"The ADB's Asian Tsunami Trust Fund is both a $600 million pool of readily available funds, as well as a means to mobilize additional contributions from other donors who wish to join with the Bank to finance urgently needed work," says ADB President Tadao Chino. "Our priority must be to ensure that assistance is provided quickly, effectively, and to those most in need. This special Trust Fund will help all of us achieve that goal."

The new amount exceeds ADB's initial pledge of $500 million made at the Special ASEAN Leaders summit in

Jakarta on 6 January. An additional $175 million in funding under existing ADB projects will be reprogrammed for the tsunami recovery effort.

The fund will finance immediate reconstruction and rehabilitation projects required as a result of the tsunami damage, under close coordination with the Governments of the affected countries, donors, and ADB's multilateral partners.

The Asian Tsunami Trust Fund will serve as a vehicle to mobilize additional funding from the many donors that have already expressed a desire to assist, including countries, foundations, individuals or others. It will be available to central and local governments, financial intermediaries to small and medium enterprises, and others in each of the tsunami-affected countries that request ADB assistance.

Available sectors would 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 containing environmental damage.

Specific project proposals will flow from the joint needs assessments that have been or are being prepared collaboratively by the individual governments, ADB, the World Bank, and major bilateral donors.

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