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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 14:07 GMT
Bush aims to boost US tsunami aid
Nagappattinam harbour, India's southern coast
People's livelihoods have been wrecked by the tsunami
US President George W Bush has said he is seeking a $600m (323m) boost in aid to nations hit by the Asian tsunami.

The new money, which needs to be approved by Congress, comes on top of the original $350m (188m) pledged after the 26 December tsunami.

The aid package includes $339m (182m) for reconstruction projects and $168m (90m) to provide food and shelter.

More than 200,000 people were killed in the tsunami, according to the United Nations, most of them in Indonesia.

In the days after the tsunami, Mr Bush was criticised for his slow response.

But on Wednesday, Mr Bush insisted the US was committed to the aid effort for the long-term.

"We will use these resources to provide assistance and to work with the affected nations on rebuilding vital infrastructure that re-energises economies and strengthens societies," he said in a statement.

The $950m tsunami aid package includes:

  • $346m to reimburse the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Defence Department for their relief efforts in the region

  • $339m for reconstruction - from rebuilding roads and schools to major water systems

  • $168m to help victims with food, shelter, housing and education

  • $35m for tsunami early warning systems and disaster mitigation efforts

  • $62m for technical assistance for reconstruction activities and the costs of US government operations in the affected countries

The UN said earlier this week that governments had only given a fraction of the money they pledged for tsunami relief.

Later this month, President Bush is sending former Presidents George H Bush and Bill Clinton to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives, to lead a US fund-raising drive.

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