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Thursday, 14 July, 2005

Indonesia: Tsunami aid left sitting on wharf

Almost 1500 containers of aid supplies for the worst-hit Indonesian tsunami victims - including some paid for with $94 million in Kiwi donations - have been sitting on a Sumatran dock for up to five months. The aid delays have taken the Government by surprise. Neither Aid Minister Marian Hobbs nor government aid agency NZAID were aware of the backlog problems at the Medan port.

"They (NZAID) haven't received any reports from their partners that supplies are held up at the port of Medan but they are not surprised," she said.

"Whenever you have a large relief effort... particularly in an area that has been really smashed about, you have really challenging logistics. There is an influx of supplies into northern Sumatra and there are supply chain difficulties."

New Zealanders contributed $94 million for tsunami relief in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nias and India, with $26 million coming from private donations and $68 million in Government pledges. About $19 million of the Government money – in a dollar-for-dollar matching of private donations – was paid directly to aid agencies such as Red Cross, Oxfam and Unicef and is being distributed through their international bodies.

The United Nations Joint Logistics Centre in Banda Aceh became aware of the backlog of aid at Belawan Port in Medan in May, and launched an investigation, spokesman Michael Whiting said. Information received from Indonesian port and military authorities showed there were 1458 containers sitting on the dock, 853 of which had been cleared by customs but had not been collected by their aid agencies owners. Read More...

(Source: Stuff)
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