French doctors charity denies tsunami aid refund

11th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 11 (AFP) - The international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) on Wednesday denied claims that it was returning huge amounts of money contributed by donors for victims of last year's killer Asian tsunami because it had received more than it could use.

PARIS, May 11 (AFP) - The international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) on Wednesday denied claims that it was returning huge amounts of money contributed by donors for victims of last year's killer Asian tsunami because it had received more than it could use.  

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, in Australia alone the charity had sent out more than 4,000 letters telling donors it could not use their money for tsunami victims, and was therefore proposing to refund them if the donors did not want their money channelled into other causes.  

The paper said the charity had had 172 requests for refunds totalling AUSD 93,000 (USD 72,540) while about 1,700 donors specified other appeals and the rest left the matter up to the charity's discretion.  

A total of "EUR 105 million (USD 134 million) were collected by the 19 sections of the association across the world," the Paris-based charity said in a statement.  

"By the end of March EUR 16 million (USD 20.5 million) had been spent on operations in the region. Total spending should reach more than EUR 22 million (USD 28 million) for 2005," it said.  

"MSF wants to redirect the gifts that it is unable to use in southeast Asia towards forgotten crises such as those ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur (in Sudan), Niger or AIDS victims in poor countries," it added.  

"So far the majority of donors contacted have accepted that their contributions be used for these aid programmes; as of today fewer than one percent of the amount collected (EUR 920,000, USD 1.18 million) has had to be paid back.  

"In France EUR 60 (USD 76), in the form of two contributions of EUR 30 euros, have been reimbursed out of a total of EUR 9.1 million (USD 11 million) contributed."  

A week after the tsunami which is believed to have killed 217,000 people in 11 Indian Ocean nations MSF said it was stopping the collection of donations because it was unable to spend all the money being sent to it.  

Indonesia's Aceh province had almost 129,000 confirmed deaths but the recently-appointed head of an agency overseeing the province's reconstruction said Monday that reconstruction is "close to zero" because of red tape.  

Billions of dollars in aid pledged by donors and foreign countries have yet to be disbursed, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Agency for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Aceh Province and Nias island.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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