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U.N. Secures $717m for Tsuanmi Aid

January 11, 2005

by Kevin Caruso

The U.N. is quickly approaching its near-term objective of $977 million for tsunami relief as it now has $717 million.

"This has never ever happened before, that two weeks after a disaster that we have $717 million that we can spend on the immediate emergency effort," said Jan Egeland, the U.N.’s relief coordinator at a donor conference in Geneva, Switzerland. “I expect that we will have 100 percent coverage of this emergency appeal."

“And several countries, including the United States, Sweden, and Germany, have indicated that their private sectors will likely match the governments’ donations,” said Egeland.

“We also have about $3.4 billion in formally recorded pledges," he said. “The United Nations had received between $6 billion and $8 billion in total pledges, including all in-kind donations and loans.”

Because of the large sums of money flowing in, Egeland is planning on taking extra measures to ensure that none of the funds are mishandled.

“We have external expertise to do this on a pro bono basis," he said. "We cannot afford to have any question marks about this unprecedented use of funds."

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