Asian Tsunami Victims Yet to Receive All Danish Aid

Many of the people in Indonesia and Sri Lanka who lost family members, homes and the ability to earn their daily living when the Tsunami struck the coastlines in Southeast Asia on Boxing Day 2004 can look forward to receiving help from the Danish Red Cross until the end of 2009.
The Danish Red Cross has managed to collect more money than the organization has the capacity to spend following the tragic catastrophe. In fact, more than a year and three months after the catastrophe hit, more than half of the total collected amount has yet to be spent, according to a report in the Danish newspaper Politiken.
An overall 214 million DKK has been collected for the victims of the Tsunami, but according to the most recent financial report from the Danish Red Cross, only 96 million DKK had been spent as of April 19.
The newspaper report cautions however that Danish contributors should not be worried that the collected amount will be spent elsewhere than in the Tsunami-struck countries in southeast Asia.
“We have made plans for the remaining money to be spent on long-term rebuilding efforts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. And according to the plans we have made, not even the remaining money will be enough,” Danish Red Cross spokesman Ulrik Norup Jorgensen told the paper.

Preparing for Another Catastrophe
The Danish Red Cross estimates that approximately 85 million DKK will be spent in Indonesia, while 75 million DKK will benefit the victims in Sri Lanka. Spokesman Ulrik Norup Jorgensen said that the money primarily will be spent on so-called ‘physo-social aid’, which will ensure that the victims can move on with their lives mentally. In addition, the Danish Red Cross intends to help the victims re-establish businesses and jobs they may have lost when the waves came crashing down. But the financial aid will also be spent on teaching the population how to prevent and prepare for new catastrophies.
According to the Norwegian newspaper VG, the Red Cross has collected an estimated 2 billion DKK worldwide for the victims of the Tsunami. But Mr. Ulrik Norup Jorgensen is not concerned about the large amounts of money which have yet to be spent.
     “You have to remember that the Red Cross is also a development organization. We also help the victims move on after a catastrophe has occurred and after the emergency help efforts are concluded,” he told Politiken.
     “The tsunami was special in that we received an incredibly large amount. That means that we now have the opportunity to think longer-term,” he explained.

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