28 December 2005

One Year after Tsunami, Secretary-General Urges World Community to Keep Working together on Recovery "For as Long as It Takes"

The following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's video message on the first Anniversary of the Tsunami, issued 26 December:

The tsunami of 26 December registered deeply in the consciousness and conscience of the world.  It was so brutal, so quick and so extensive that we are still struggling to fully comprehend it.  At the same time, it prompted an unprecedented response.

Millions of people around the world stepped forward to help.  The entire international community pulled together.  The United Nations forged a close working relationship with the authorities on the ground.

One year on, there has been tremendous progress in many areas.  Children are back in school.  Epidemics have been prevented.  Tens of thousands of survivors are employed in cash-for-work activities.  Food assistance has reached all affected families.  And we have established a common system of financial tracking.

Yet in some ways, the most challenging days lie ahead.  Breadwinners desperately need to regain secure livelihoods.  Hundreds of thousands of families need to re-establish themselves in permanent homes.  And communities need to rebuild.

If we are to "build back better" than what was there before, we need to strike a balance between quick results and sustainable development.

We need to ensure that the recovery process reflects the needs and aspirations of the survivors themselves.

We need to keep supporting the Government in the implementation of its recovery plan.

And we need to keep building on the courage of the communities who are valiantly taking charge of their recovery, despite the losses they endured and the conditions they live in.

Every day, we are learning valuable lessons.

Every day, we are better prepared to respond to a natural disaster of this magnitude than we were a year ago.

Let us keep working together in that direction, for as long as it takes.

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