January 30, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
One in three people in the Maldives islands was affected by the December 26, 2004 tsunami, but international donors are not offering sufficient aid, said the United Nations in a statement released on January 30th.
The U.N. has issued an appeal for additional money for the Maldives but donors have been slow to respond.
"We have pledges of about 27 million dollars but not a single cent has been received for shelter," said Moez Doraid, U.N. resident representative in the Maldives. "Over 15,000 people are still homeless... [the tsunami] almost destroyed the country."
Eighty-two people were killed in the Maldives, which seems small in comparison to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand, but the physical devastation was extensive.
And Doriad is concerned that most people in the international community do not realize the severity of the damage in the Maldives, and will not realize it because of the limited news coverage the Maldives receives in the international press.
"The coverage of the tsunami impact on the Maldives has faded away from television screens and front pages. The extensive devastation of the Maldives has not reached donor countries or the international community," said Doraid.
"We need substantial and sustained international aid," said Abdul Gayoom, President of the Maldives. "We can't do it alone."