U.S. Water News Online
UNITED NATIONS -- Former President Clinton has launched a
$45 million appeal with the U.N. children's agency to provide clean
water and sanitation to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami and said
he expected the United States in the long run to contribute billions
of dollars to rebuild the devastated areas.
Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush were appointed by
President Bush to increase private donations after the Dec. 26
earthquake off Indonesia triggered deadly waves that swept across
southeast Asia to Africa -- and Clinton said more than one-third of a
billion dollars already has been donated to charities.
But he said he also tried to determine whether there was "an area
of critical need" where there was not enough money to meet the
immediate and longer-term needs of the millions of people affected by
the tsunami, especially children.
"Our inquiries determined that in the weeks and months ahead more
resources will be needed to provide clean water and adequate
sanitation both for survival and for the prevention of disease,"
Clinton said. "The initial inquiry that we made ... was that we ought
to try to raise another $45 million for this purpose alone."
The new fund is a joint project of the Clinton Foundation and the
United Nations Children's Fund, and Clinton said he and his wife,
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., made the first contribution,
which was not disclosed.
The money raised will be used by UNICEF, working with other relief
organizations, "to make sure that we do everything we can to keep
people alive and to prevent the spread of disease," Clinton said.
"Diseases such as dysentery and diarrhea accompany absence of
clean water -- the presence of polluted water -- and they
disproportionately impact children," he said.
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy told a news conference
that at least one-third of the more than 150,000 people killed in the
tsunami are believed to have been children, and more than 1 million
children are homeless.
"Providing safe water and clean sanitation is the foundation for
keeping children alive, keeping them healthy, providing for their
future." Bellamy said.
"It will not be easy. Water systems have been destroyed. They've
been polluted. They've been clogged, or they've been spoiled with sea
water. Re-establishing safe sources of water and decent sanitation is
essential for the recovery of the communities involved."
Clinton praised the outpouring of support for the tsunami victims
and expressed hope that the $45 million would be raised quickly.
He said millions of people around the world have offered help for
the victims in what he called a "revolution in small-donor giving."
He expressed hope that these new donors might help millions of others
who live without clean water, sanitation and schools escape from
poverty and disease.
The United States has pledged $350 million in aid to the tsunami
victims. Nations worldwide have pledged more than $4 billion.
Clinton said most of that public money is needed for long-term
"So I'll be quite surprised if the United States doesn't wind up
contributing in the billions to this effort over the long run," he
said. "I think we'll do our part.
"Our country, our Congress has not been very good historically,
including when I was president, in supporting foreign assistance at
an appropriate level. But we have been very good in dealing with the
aftermath of disasters."
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