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Governments Must Make Good on Tsunami Relief Pledges

By Oxfam

Washington, DC—As US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan wrap-up their visits to devastated areas in the Indian Ocean region, Oxfam calls on all donor governments to publicly promise to deliver every cent they pledged this week at the Jakarta conference.

"The Jakarta conference must not end up being remembered as just another photo-op for foreign ministers. The donor community has a responsibility to keep their promises to the people in a dozen countries who need a long-term commitment of billions of dollars if they are to rebuild their lives," said Krista Riddley, Oxfam's Deputy Director of Policy.

Riddley added: "Each nation that has pledged funds to the relief effort must tell the world that this time their actions will speak as loud as their words."

Often countries hard hit by high-profile disasters, such as the case of the Bam earthquake in Iran and Hurricane Mitch in Central America, fail to receive all of the money initially promised to them once the attention of the international media fades. Despite the tremendous and unprecedented outpouring of public donations and interest in the tsunami emergency, Oxfam warns that the danger of the international community walking away from the Indian Ocean region over the long-term still exists.

Oxfam also warns that it is essential that the tsunami disaster, which is an emergency unprecedented in terms of scope and severity, does not prevent other urgent and ongoing crises from getting the attention and funds that they need.

Oxfam Program Update: 100,000 Families Now Being Reached with Services

Meanwhile, Oxfam operations have scaled up to the point where over 100,000 families in seven of the affected Sri Lankan districts are receiving assistance in the forms of water, sanitation, and the delivery of non-food items that range from bath soap to underwear. As Oxfam continues to increase its capacity, it is expected that they will be providing assistance to well over a quarter of a million people affected by the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

In Marata, Ampara, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Hambantota districts, the five regional offices Oxfam operates in Sri Lanka have been able to cover at least half the population in almost every district where they are working.

Oxfam currently has over 100 staff in Sri Lanka, has committed $4,697,368 USD and several local partners working to expand our operations to meet the enormous need. Oxfam has had operations in Sri Lanka for nearly 30 years.

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