Litmus Test

The coming week will show how much of the Jakarta pledges will materialise into hard cash, says visiting UN Chief Kofi Annan wrapping up a two day old tour of Sri Lanka’s tsunami ravaged southern and eastern coastal belts. The coming week will show how much of the Jakarta pledges will materialise into hard cash, says visiting UN Chief Kofi Annan wrapping up a two day old tour of Sri Lanka’s tsunami ravaged southern and eastern coastal belts. “The first test of the pledges will be at the January 11 meeting in Geneva,” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told journalists in Colombo on Sunday, before leaving the island.

Already nearly US$ 4 bn have been pledged on behalf of tsunami victims by donor nations and a UN flash appeal went out for another one billion dollars on Thursday in Jakarta, Indonesia.

But how much of these words of goodwill will turn into hard cash remains to be seen.

The Jakarta appeal on January 6, for US$ 997 was the largest fundraiser for a natural disaster so far.

The UN asked for US$ 33.1 mn for Sri Lanka in Jakarta to meet immediate rehabilitation needs of the island.

The last time a similar appeal was launched was in the wake of hurricane Mitch in 1998 that destroyed the five C