12 January 2005
The UN Volunteers (UNV) programme will increase its immediate and long-term support to countries devastated by the 26 December tsunamis thanks in part to a US$ 5-million contribution announced yesterday by the Government of Japan.
Japan’s Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shuzen Tanigawa, made the announcement in Geneva during a ministerial meeting on humanitarian assistance to the tsunami affected countries.
The funds will allow the UNV programme to scale up its presence in several of the affected countries in the coming weeks and months. Through the recruitment of national and international UN Volunteers, efforts will focus on continuing immediate emergency relief, supporting long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts, as well as strengthening local volunteer initiatives to contribute to ongoing assistance activities.
UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad says Japan’s contribution will enable the UNV programme to deliver on the ground assistance to those communities still reeling in the aftermath of last month’s tsunamis. “The Government of Japan has consistently and actively supported the work of UN Volunteers and the concept of volunteerism,” he says. “This contribution will enable UNV to support rehabilitation and economic recovery efforts in the affected communities.”
Since 27 December, teams of UN Volunteers have been assisting several UN agencies, governments and communities in their efforts to meet immediate needs. In Indonesia’s Aceh province, UN Volunteers are working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish temporary housing for the thousands of displaced. In the Maldives, UN Volunteers are ensuring food and non-food items are reaching those who need it most.
In addition to UNV, Japan has pledged financial support to 12 UN agencies and programmes, including UNICEF, UNDP, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Food Programme (WFP). The funds will be disbursed following authorization by the Japanese Cabinet on 17 January.