Statements

The Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Assistance to the Tsunami Afeected Communities

STATEMENT BY

Mr. George Ciamba
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania

Geneva - January 11, 2005 -

Mr. Under-Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to thank our hosts for organizing this timely conference. May I congratulate you, Mr. Egeland, and all those who have taken part in leading the relief assistance so far, for the work you have done in helping those in need.

I would like to express, on behalf of my Government, our deep and profound sympathy and compassion for the victims of the tidal waves and for their families. Our hearts go out to those who have so tragically died and to those who survived but have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. The damage brought by this terrible disaster has shocked the world. Its impact is worldwide - and so is the solidarity and response of the international community: the recent summit in Jakarta and this Conference have proved just that - and so have shown the millions of dollars that were given by the ordinary men and women all over the world.

Romania has joined the international assistance efforts and has answered promptly the calls for aid that followed the earthquake of the 26th of December. On December 28, the Romanian authorities sent a military cargo plane, carrying medicines, clothing, food, and tents to Sri Lanka. The total value of this emergency aid, including transportation costs was around Euro 190,000. Furthermore, following the appeal launched by the UN Secretary General on the 6th of January, the Government of Romania has approved, the same day, a supplementary emergency humanitarian aid for the most affected countries of Euro 115,000. Taking into account the tremendous efforts put in place by the UN agencies, which have already proved a high level of dedication and efficiency in tackling the aftermath of the disaster, Romania has decided to transfer this financial aid to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Additional aid in kind of Euro 35,000, plus transportation costs, containing emergency kits was approved by the Romanian Government to the benefit of the Indonesian people. Moreover, the Romanian NGO's are actively engaged in fund raising activities.

The Romanian Government is committed to further examine other possibilities of action in order to alleviate the sufferings and pain of the communities in the area. This is why we feel that the issue of effective planning for long-term reconstruction is critical. We consider that it is imperative for the reconstruction efforts to integrate the preventive tools and mechanisms that can make people less vulnerable were such disasters to strike again.

In this respect, we think that is important for the countries in the region to start working, as soon as possible, on the issue of a regional early warning system. The earliest opportunity to that effect is provided by the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, to be held next week in Kobe, Japan, where our delegation is ready to support such an initiative.

Thank you.


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