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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 11:30 GMT
India unveils $628m tsunami aid
Bridge under construction and tsunami debris in Nagappattinam, south India
The money will be released when project details are finalised
India has unveiled a 27bn rupee ($628m) reconstruction package for mainland areas hit by December's tsunami.

The new money will be released when administrators provide details of projects, a government spokesman said.

More money could also be announced this week for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the finance minister said.

More than 10,500 people died in India and more than 5,500 are missing presumed dead - almost all in the Andamans and Nicobars.

Bank aid

Wednesday's package was announced after a cabinet meeting in Delhi.

It covers Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pondicherry.

The cash is in addition to the five billion rupees announced on 27 December for immediate relief and rescue work.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
The package was announced after a cabinet meeting in Delhi

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the new package included $251m for the fishing community.

Another $5.3m has been set aside for repairing and restoring damaged fishing harbours and landing places.

The cabinet also agreed on the construction of 170,500 houses at a cost of $173m.

Earlier this month, the government put the cost of the tsunami at $1.6bn on the mainland alone, with reports of another $600m on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

It said compensation payouts were expected to top one billion rupees.

India rejected relief and rescue aid from other countries in the aftermath of the disaster but has asked the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for help in reconstruction projects.

On Tuesday, India's ambassador to the United Nations, Nirupam Sen, said the role of the UN and its agencies was critical in implementing quick and concrete programmes for the affected areas.

However, he also said India had a "well-oiled machinery, experienced and trained personnel and the resources required to successfully deal with the unexpected disaster within our existing capacity".


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