01/20/2005, 00.00
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Jakarta promises transparency in how tsunami aid is managed

Indonesia, one of the world's most corrupt countries, says that that tsunami aid money will be properly managed. Happy ending for parents who find their daughter almost a month after she was swept away.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Foreign donors providing billions of dollars in tsunami aid for Indonesia should not fear that the funds will be siphoned off by corrupt officials, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said yesterday.

"The money would be managed and disbursed by representatives of the donor countries and the United Nations.," he stressed.

"There should not be any doubts because we have similar interests to ensure a transparent and accountable management of the money," he added.

According to Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, Indonesia ranks in the top 10 of worst offenders.

United Nations officials meantime invited all parties to better coordinate their relief efforts and reiterated that the world body has the central role in marshalling expertise in setting up a tsunami-warning system.

Indian officials said their country had the technological capability to build a network that would stretch from Australia to East Africa by 2007, at a cost of US$ 30 million.

The Indonesians want to expand their country's monitoring centres and suggested a quake information centre run by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations could be retooled to focus on tsunami.

Even officials from faraway Germany have come up with a warning system for part of the region. UN officials said however the plan was perhaps too costly and ambitious because it appeared to require technological advances.

Whilst officials and politicians discuss what comes next, the death toll keeps on rising; however, it is not all doom and gloom. A couple found their 7-year old daughter in one of Ache's many refugee camps almost four weeks after she went missing.

Little Putri was swept out to sea from her home after the huge surge receded.

Her family looked ceaselessly for her among the bodies that covered the streets of Lhokeseumawe, a small town 150 km from Banda Aceh, but they never lost hope of finding her. After 24 endless days their prayers were answered.

""I always knew she was alive," Amiruddin, Putri's father, said overjoyed. "I had full confidence that someone would see her."

The little girl spent most of this time at the home of a rice trader who, on the day of the tsunami, took in another 200 survivors.

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See also
Fishermen most affected by the tsunami
After tsunami cynicism assails Christians, Muslims and Hindus
Sea apostolate working for tsunami-stricken fishermen, says Card Fumio Hamao
Caritas India hands over 648 new homes to tsunami survivors
A month after the tsunami Christians leading reconstruction efforts


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