OECD tracks tsunami aid


08/12/2005 - Two-thirds of the aid which the European Commission and the 22 member governments of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee pledged to countries hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami has been spent or ear-marked for specific projects, according to statistics gathered by the OECD.

The unprecedented humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean tsunami prompted governments, international organisations, private individuals, charities and companies to pledge USD 13.6 billion to the affected countries. Of that, USD 5.3 billion was from OECD member governments.

Donor governments and the European Commission have committed USD 1.7 billion to emergency aid and USD 1.9 billion to longer term reconstruction projects, to be spent by 2009. More than 90% of the emergency aid – nearly USD 1.6 billion – was spent in the nine months immediately following the disaster. For reconstruction, USD 473 million has been spent, leaving USD 1. 4 billion committed and in the pipeline for spending over the coming years.

The rest of the money pledged will be committed once other specific projects and programmes have been identified.

Together, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have received more than 60% of the funds committed so far.
2005 has been a year of extreme humanitarian challenges. The tsunami was by far the greatest in terms of lives lost and destruction and donors responded generously. But donors agree there is no room for complacency. The response to other disasters such as the Kashmir earthquake and hurricanes in North and Central America, a food crisis in Niger, and on-going emergencies in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo has been slower and less adequate.

While generous, the tsunami response revealed the need for major improvements in the systems for humanitarian aid. These include getting aid to affected areas quickly; coordinating emergency responses to fit with long term development policies; and being transparent and accountable with aid funds.

The aid community is investigating ways to improve its international response time. Current suggestions include an expanded United Nations fund to meet humanitarian emergencies.

Data on other tsunami aid is being collected by ReliefWeb in Geneva for private humanitarian aid, and by the United Nations on total spending.

For further information on these and other aid statistics, journalists are invited to contact Brian Hammond in the OECD Development Assistance Committee (tel. 331 45 24 90 34).

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