Germany raising tsunamiaid to up to EUR 500m

4th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2005, BERLIN - The German government is poised to increase the amount of aid it will give to victims of last month's deadly Indian Ocean tsunami up to EUR 500 million.

5 January 2005

BERLIN - The German government is poised to increase the amount of aid it will give to victims of last month's deadly Indian Ocean tsunami up to EUR 500 million.

Germany's cabinet will on Wednesday radically boost its disaster aid package for the region, officials said.

So far Berlin had pledged 20 million in aid to the region - far less than that promised by Japan and the United States. 

The German Government's contribution to the relief effort has also fallen short of the donations made by the German public towards helping the victims of the disaster.

A telethon on German TV to raise money for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami set a record, alone collecting pledges of EUR 39.4 million, including more than EUR7 from Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher. 

Viewers, corporations and celebrities made donations throughout the show on Germany's ZDF channel, broadcasting live on Tuesday from Berlin.

Also included in the total were contributions of EUR 10 million from Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank.

On Monday evening a TV benefit gala show by the commercial broadcaster Sat.1 raised a record 10.5 million euros. A similar prime-time celebrity fund-raising show by the public broadcaster ZDF is scheduled for Tuesday evening.

More than 1,000 German nationals are still missing after last month's deadly Indian Ocean earthquake which killed over 150,000 people, a senior foreign ministry official said Tuesday.

"There's no reason to issue an all clear," warned Klaus Scharioth, deputy head of the foreign ministry's tsunami crisis reaction centre.

Scharioth said the number of confirmed German dead remained at 60 with some 300 injured. About 7,000 German tourists from stricken South Asian regions have been brought home on specially chartered flights including over 100 seriously injured on three air force Medevac jets.

The only glimmer of hope, said Scharioth, is that the total number of missing Germans declined over the past 24 hours after over 100 people returning home reported to the ministry.

Berlin, unlike some of the Nordic countries, has refused to publish its official list of those missing. Media reports on Monday - rejected by the government - suggested up to 3,200 people were considered missing. 

The German Red Cross has lauded what it called a "sensational" response in public donations to help the tsunami victims.

Rudolf Seiters, the charity's German president, said donations to the national branch had reached EUR 22.8 million, with EUR 12.5 million received Monday. 

In the meantime, German sporting stars continue to line up to offer financial help to the Asian tsunami victims.

On Tuesday, German club Bayern Munich and its players are to immediately give EUR 300,000 to help the tsunami victims while the German national team is to play a benefit match.

"We want to try and reach out a hand and help the children and people who have suffered so much in this catastrophe," club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, adding that the help would go "to those who need it most".

Munich chairman Uli Hoeness said the EUR 300,000 figure, which was unanimously agreed by club and players Monday and is targeted to help fund an orphanage, children's home or school in Sri Lanka, is just the beginning.

"It's important that long-term help is put in place," said Hoeness. "We want to run the project for 10 or 15 years, review it on an annual basis and regularly invite children to Munich."

Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder said the suffering in Asia as a result of the disaster was so bad that "it's simply our duty to try and help".

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff confirmed on Monday evening that the national team will play a benefit match in the region and discussions are already underway between the German football federation (DFB) and German football league (DFL) over the date, location and possible opposition.

Germany played a selection made up of foreigners playing in the Bundesliga in December 2002 for victims of flooding in eastern Germany which raised EUR 3.5 million.

German second division club MSV Duisburg and Bundesliga side VfL Bochum have also announced that all proceeds from their friendly match on 16 January will go to an Asian tsunami charity. 

For further information about the Tsunami disaster:

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news 


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