Germany emerges as key donor in tsunami aid

5th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2005, BERLIN - Germany on Wednesday boosted its South Asian tsunami aid package to EUR 500 million (USD674 million) - a move making Berlin one of the biggest single aid donors in the disaster. "The entire German nation is in solidarity with the people in the stricken regions," said Schroeder at a news briefing announcing what he termed "a very generous offer of help." Germany's cabinet agreed to increase aid for the region to EUR 500 for the next three to five years from its initial pledge of EUR

5 January 2005

BERLIN - Germany on Wednesday boosted its South Asian tsunami aid package to EUR 500 million (USD674 million) - a move making Berlin one of the biggest single aid donors in the disaster.

"The entire German nation is in solidarity with the people in the stricken regions," said Schroeder at a news briefing announcing what he termed "a very generous offer of help."

Germany's cabinet agreed to increase aid for the region to EUR 500 for the next three to five years from its initial pledge of EUR 20 million in emergency aid, Schroeder said.

This compares to Japan, which has pledged USD 500 million and the United States which has promised USD 350 million. Australia has earmarked USD 764 million largely for assistence to Indonesia.

Schroeder said it had not yet been decided how the money would be used.

"This can only be determined when there is an overview of projects which make sense," he said, adding that German priorities included supplying drinking water, boosting healthcare and aiding children.

Schroeder underlined that funds pledged by Germany were cash grants - not loans or credits. He also noted 25 percent of all funds donated by the European Union (EU) to the disaster area also came from Germany.

Asked if German aid would be used to write off debts of countries hit by the catastrophe, Schroeder said this would have to discussed with European leaders as well as leaders of the G7 club of wealthy industrial nations.

The Chancellor hailed the outpouring of German private donations which he said have reached EUR 150 million.

"We can all be happy over how many individuals are ready to get involved," said Schroeder who termed the Indian Ocean tsunami as "the biggest natural disaster in recent human memory."

At least 155,000 people have been killed in the south Asia as a result of the last month's earthquake.

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said there was no change in the German death toll from the disaster.

A total of 60 German nationals have been confirmed dead; over 300 are injured and more than 1,000 are still missing, he said.

Fischer said he was leaving for the region on Friday and would make stops in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia for high-level political talks aimed at finding ways to target German aid.

Asked if he supported Germans who want to adopt children made orphans by the tsunami, Schroeder - who last year adopted a three-year-old girl from Russia - declined to comment.

"This is not place to talk about such ... an individual decision," he said.

But the Chancellor underlined his calls for states and cities in Germany to "adopt" regions hit by the disaster. A twinning agreement based on that which has been in place between the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda for the past decade served as a good model, said Schroeder. 

 For further information about the Tsunami disaster: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Tsunami_Help/Blogs

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news 

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