News

    Annan, Wolfensohn Tour Devastated Sri Lankan Regions

    United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and World Bank President James Wolfensohn continued their tours to parts of Asia devastated by last month's tsunami with a visit to Sri Lanka. Each pledged continued support to Sri Lanka, one of the countries hardest hit by the deadly waves.

    Secretary General Annan said he and World Bank President Wolfensohn came to Sri Lanka to learn from the people what they need to recover from the tsunami.

    World Bank officials say the worst-hit parts of Sri Lanka are poor areas, or those that have that have been most affected by the country's two decade long conflict between the government and rebels from the Tamil Tiger guerrilla group.

    Mr. Wolfensohn said the disaster may put some of those differences between the two sides into perspective. "It does represent an amazing opportunity to use this moment, when all of us are really seen as 'ants on a planet' - when you look at the power of this tsunami, it's hard to think in terms of parochial issues," he said. "Because regardless of who we are or where we were, nature made us recognize that fundamentally we're all the same."

    Mr. Wolfensohn met with Sri Lankan officials to discuss ways to restructure roughly $100 million in existing funding for immediate release for emergency use. In addition, the World Bank has made $75 million available to the government, 40 percent of which takes the form of a grant to help it cope with the disaster. Another 10 million was released at the start of the crisis for emergency medical help.

    The assistance may not stop there for Sri Lanka, or the other 11 nations affected by the tsunami. "When we get to the question of reconstruction, what I have told the governments is that we are going to be there for them," said Mr. Wolfensohn. "We could ourselves go up to a billion dollars without any great difficulty in terms of both new and converted funds for this purpose."

    Mr. Wolfensohn and the UN secretary-general came to Sri Lanka after attending an international donors conference in Indonesia, where some $3 billion in assistance was pledged to help nations affected by the tsunami.

    Next to Indonesia, which lost more than 100,000 people, Sri Lanka was the worst hit, with more than 30,000 people killed. At least 150,000 people across the region were killed.

    Despite requests to the Sri Lankan government, Mr. Annan did not visit parts of Sri Lanka under the control of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas. The group has been engaged in a 20 year campaign for greater rights for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority.

    Since the tsunami, the two sides have traded accusations that the other is preventing aid from reaching people in need on opposite sides of front-line areas.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora