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Continuing Support For Tsunami Relief

“From our own experiences, we know that nothing can take away the grief of those affected by tragedy. We also know that Americans have a history of rising to meet great humanitarian challenges and of providing hope to suffering peoples. As men and women across the devastated region begin to rebuild, we offer our sustained compassion and our generosity, and our assurance that America will be there to help.”

President George W. Bush, January 3, 2005

Presidential Action

  • President Bush on February 9, 2005, announced that he is seeking $950 million as part of the supplemental request to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas devastated by the Indian Ocean Tsunami and to cover the costs of the U.S. government’s relief efforts to date. This amount, which is part of the supplemental appropriations request, is an expansion of his initial commitment of $350 million and is based on the information available and the assessments to date.
  • The President expressed the United States’ deep and ongoing commitment to the tsunami victims. The United States was working to help these nations before the tsunami struck, and we remain committed to helping those affected by this terrible disaster recover and rebuild.

The $950 million tsunami supplemental will include estimated allocations for the following activities:

  • $339 million for reconstruction of infrastructure, such as the construction of roads, schools, and water distribution systems;
  • $168 million to help victims transition back to their communities, including food aid, shelter, housing reconstruction, education, and programs that help victims recover and get back to work;
  • A total of $35 million for early warning and disaster mitigation efforts -- $23 million to improve the international and U.S. tsunami early warning system, and $12 million to enhance tsunami early warning and disaster mitigation in the affected countries;
  • $62 million for good governance and technical assistance for planning reconstruction activities and the costs of U.S. government agency operations in the region; and
  • $346 million to replenish costs incurred by the United States Agencies for International Development (USAID) and the Defense Department for provision of immediate relief.
  • The supplemental may fund debt deferment for tsunami affected countries, if necessary.

Relief Efforts To Date:

  • To date, the United States has committed $350 million in emergency relief assistance – which will be replenished in the supplemental to enable the United States to respond to future emergencies. This is in addition to operational costs incurred by the Department of Defense. Relief resources have been focused on emergency food assistance, provision of relief supplies, shelter, water and sanitation, health, education, cash for work, livelihoods recovery, psychological and social support, protecting women and children from human-trafficking, logistics and coordination, and debris clean-up.
  • When the earthquake hit, USAID immediately worked to mobilize staff to respond to the humanitarian needs in the affected countries. At the height of the relief effort, more than 150 USAID personnel, including Disaster Assistance experts, were on the ground in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Maldives, and the Seychelles conducting assessments of affected areas, managing U.S. civilian response, participating in the overall coordination of relief and reconstruction activities, apprising funding requests, and recommending appropriate U.S. Government relief efforts.
    • The United States, through USAID, has funded debris clean-up and other community rehabilitation projects in the relief phase benefiting more than 344,000 people through cash-for-work projects and temporary shelter for more than 165,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.
    • USAID has also funded water and sanitation activities in the emergency phase benefiting more than 885,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and the Maldives.
    • USAID provided 21,220 metric tons for the first four months of World Food Program (WFP) operations, contributing to WFP's beneficiary total of 1.4 million tsunami victims.
  • The Defense Department brought into action military assets to support relief operations in Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. The Defense Department has been providing vital supplies and logistics to the humanitarian effort since December 30.
    • At the height of the DOD humanitarian support activities, there were nearly 16,000 U.S. military personnel in the region focused on this effort.
    • There were 26 ships, 58 helicopters, and 43 fixed wing aircraft.
    • DOD delivered over 10 million pounds of food and supplies and provided well over 400,000 gallons of fresh water.
    • To date, DOD has treated almost 2,500 patients.
  • Other agencies have also contributed to the effort including the State Department with diplomatic coordination, the Department of Health and Human Services by deploying technical health experts, the Department of Agriculture with food aid, and the Treasury Department through the efforts of the international financial institutions.
  • Former Presidents Bush and Clinton will visit tsunami-affected countries of South and Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Maldives in February 2005.
  • Estimates place the generous private-sector donations towards the tsunami relief efforts at more than $700 million.