Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin MEPs vote in favour of EU support for countries affected by Tsunami

13 January, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today called for the European Union to provide greater political and financial aid for the countries affected by December's Tsunami in South East Asia. The call came during a debate on the issue in the European Parliament.

Speaking after the vote Ms McDonald said:

"Like many others, I have been appalled by the scale of the disaster caused by the earthquake and tsunami which hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Southern India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Burma, Mauritius, Somalia, Kenya, Seychelles, Réunion island and Tanzania

"The United Nations have already confirmed that 150 000 people have died, thousands have gone missing, more than 500 000 have been seriously wounded and five million have been displaced, and that the survival of some 150 000 people is under immediate threat from epidemics and famine.

"In addition the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than five million people are suffering from inadequate access to drinking water and a shortage of medical services and health provision. Much of the communication, energy and educational infrastructure have been destroyed in these coastal regions.

"I and my colleague Bairbre de Brún would like to convey our party's condolences and deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, and to the peoples and governments of the countries concerned. We would also like to pay tribute to the many forms of solidarity shown across the world.

"The international community, and in particular political leaders in Europe, must respond in kind and fully honour the commitments made to the victims of the disaster.

"Today Sinn Fein supported a resolution calling on the European Commission and the Member States to take all the necessary measures to write off the developing countries' bilateral and multilateral external debts rapidly.

"We also welcome the decision taken by the European Commission to release €23 m in emergency aid and its intention to grant an additional contribution of €100 m from the Community budget's emergency reserve fund. It is important that donors establish among themselves, and with the United Nations and beneficiary countries clear deadlines for the supply of humanitarian aid.

"This disaster once again highlights the need for all developed countries, including the Irish government, to bring the level of development aid up to at least 0.7% of GDP, as requested by the United Nations. There can be no backsliding on this important demand.

"Sinn Féin also believes that an international tax on capital movements should be introduced, the proceeds of which should be allocated to the building of a fairer world." ENDS

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