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Canada to raise disaster aid to $425M


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OTTAWA - Canada will earmark more than $425 million over five years to help countries rebuild after the devastating tsunami. Prime Minister Paul Martin made the announcement this afternoon in Ottawa.

The funds – a dramatic jump from the $80 million already pledged – would bring Canada's contribution almost even with that of the United States, which currently stands at about $427 million Cdn.

Martin said the package comes in two parts.The $265 million represents the government's immediate response to the disaster, which includes direct humanitarian aid, matching funds program, the debt moratorium and deployment of the DART.

An additional $160 million will be allocated over four years to the Canadian International Development Agency for use in rehabilitation and rebuilding projects.

"This is a new and important commitment of previously unallocated funds for foreign aid,"Martin said. "As the relief effort becomes more organized, short-term needs are effectively addressed and it is crucial that the world turn its attention to assisting in long-term reconstruction."

Martin also said that Canadians have privately contributed $150 million. "In a time of crisis, of disaster, the response of Canadians has been truly extraordinary," he said.

Canadian Forces' Disaster Assistance Response Team arrived in the Sri Lankan city of Ampara on Monday, bringing medical supplies, water-purification equipment and food to survivors of the Dec. 26 tsunami.

Martin plans to visit the team, known as DART, next week in Ampara, which lies near one of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami that killed at least 156,000 people and wiped out whole regions around the Indian Ocean.

Bush promises 'long-term commitment' in Asia

Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush pledged his country to "a long-term commitment" to help tsunami victims on Monday, but didn't raise America's donation to relief efforts.

Bush made the comments after receiving a report on the destruction from Secretary of State Colin Powell, who returned hours earlier from a tour of Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

"We have made a commitment and our commitment is a long-term commitment to help ... these folks get back on their feet," Bush said Monday at the U.S. Agency for International Development headquarters in Washington. The president thanked employees and the leaders of various non-governmental humanitarian agencies for their work.

Bush said the devastation witnessed by Powell and his team underscores the need for long-term American assistance to the region.

"This is one of those projects that's not going to happen overnight."

However, the president said the government isn't prepared to raise its pledge at this point.

In an effort to reassure Americans that the millions of dollars they've donated to aid agencies is helping, Bush also said relief efforts are "well co-ordinated."


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  • AztecInca


  • Stellar


  • Thanato


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14.3 $ per person.

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Good job. Its great to see more and more nations donating more and more to the relief effort in the affected areas yet there are still far too many nations being unbelievably stingy!

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