Vienna, 21 December 2006 - "December 26, 2006 will mark the second anniversary of the devastating tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. Two years later, December 26 will still be a day of reflection, contemplation, and grief for all of us. It will also be a day that impressively demonstrates the solidarity we feel and experience for each other on a worldwide scale. The generosity shown by the Austrians and the wave of donations from around the world are a proof that people from different parts of the planet want to be there for each other, reach out to each other, and stand by each other", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.
"Transparency and sustainability are the core principles in managing Tsunami aid. The government tsunami aid designed for a period of three years is being implemented on the basis of these principles", explained Foreign Minister Plassnik, and added that the federal, provincial, and local governments have secured approximately EUR 20.41 million in aid for specific humanitarian and reconstruction projects in 2005. As a result, and despite a difficult initial phase, a large portion of the funds promised was already appropriated and EUR 10.71 million have been paid out during the first year of tsunami aid. Plassnik pointed out that the mentioned figures were compiled on the basis of the statistical guidelines of the OECD Development Assistance Committee and would consider only those contributions that exclusively benefited the population in the affected areas.
Significant balance sheet figures on government development aid in 2006 will be available in the 2nd quarter of 2007.
"I believe transparency and strict control are vital issues in a targeted and professional relief effort. Therefore, we also support the comprehensive international auditing operations of INTOSAI, the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, which is monitoring the transparency, sustainability, and efficiency of the use of donations and public aid money on behalf of the donors. The Austrian Court of Auditors too has accompanied the implementation of the Austrian tsunami aid with a precise case study", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.
Specific projects are being carried out in the areas of reconstruction of fishing villages and health facilities, water treatment, development of transport infrastructure, economic revival, education, and tourism. The regional focus of the Austrian commitment is Sri Lanka.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213