Spain backs debt moratorium for nations struck by tsunami

5th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 January 2005, MADRID-Spain's Socialist government said it would support the idea of a debt moratorium for countries suffering from the aftermath of last month's devastating Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

5 January 2005

MADRID-Spain's Socialist government said it would support the idea of a debt moratorium for countries suffering from the aftermath of last month's devastating Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

The possibility of such a moratorium is to be considered at a meeting here 11 January of the Paris Club of government creditors.

The countries afflicted by the disaster owe Spain a total of EUR 513 million (USD 679m), of which 86 percent is owed by Indonesia, the country worst hit by the 26 December earthquake-driven tsunami.

An estimated 146,000 people are known to have died in the disaster, of whom 94,200 were from Indonesia.

Spain has lost 11 people, one of the lowest totals of all European countries.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the Indonesia province of Aceh, to see for himself the devastation caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Aceh has borne the brunt of the earthquake and the sea surges it triggered, with whole towns destroyed and tens of thousands of lives lost.

Powell said the devastation was unlike anything he had seen before.

The former general said: "I have been in war and I have been through a number of hurricanes, tornados and other relief operations, but I have never seen anything like this," he said.

A huge aid effort is under way in the area. Powell will attend a donors' conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

The death toll in Indonesia is currently more than 94,000, and is expected to rise further.

Germany increases its aid pledge to tsunami victims from USD 27 million  to USD 670m - becoming the biggest contributor to the relief effort.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says the UK government will spend "several hundred million" dollars on relief and reconstruction efforts in the coming weeks.

Shops re-open in villages in eastern Sri Lanka for the first time since the waves hit on 26 December.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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