Annan: 5-10 Years to Rebuild from Tsunami

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan personally will attend a high-level Jan. 6 conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, to coordinate donation pledges in the relief effort for the deadly tsunamis in South Asia, which he called "the largest disaster we have had to deal with."

Annan expects it will take five to 10 years to complete the recovery effort.

Annan made the comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that will air Sunday, Jan. 2 on "This Week."

Following is a transcript of the interview:

George Stephanopoulos, host, ABC News' "This Week:" Mr. Secretary-General, thank you so much for joining us.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan: Happy to be here.

Stephanopoulos: I just saw your chief of humanitarian aid, Jan Egeland, describe this as an exploding crisis. It literally came out of nowhere for so many in the world. A week in, do you think we now understand the dimensions of this disaster?

Annan: I'm not sure we've quite got to understand the dimensions of it, the sheer vastness, the speed with which it happened. And it is growing by the day. I spoke to one of the leaders in the region three days ago -- four days.

We know the count: It's 22,000 and another hundred [thousand]. This was 22,000 in Aceh 100[,000] in Sumatra. And today it is 80,000. We have 120,000 confirmed dead. And the numbers are likely to grow. Some estimate it may grow to 150,000.

Stephanopoulos: And that would put it beyond the numbers that were killed in the Hiroshima disaster?

Annan: Absolutely.

Stephanopoulos: Has the U.N. ever had to deal with anything like this?

Annan: This is the largest disaster we have had to deal with. The sheer complexity of it -- 12 countries have been affected. And here this week I had a meeting with the ambassadors of the 12 countries affected. And we are trying to operate in each of them and give them assistance, help coordinate the national, regional and international assistance as well as mobilize the resources and the logistical requirements to go in and be effective.

Stephanopoulos: And the exploding crisis has been met in recent days by this outpouring of compassion from the world. How would you characterize the response from the world so far?

Annan: I think this has been, perhaps, one of the most generous responses that I have seen, or we have seen in a long time. And as Jan Egeland indicated today, in seven days we've got more money in response to the tsunami crisis than we did for all the humanitarian appeals we issued in 2004.

Stephanopoulos: That would suggest that the world had not done enough for these other disasters.

Annan: We call them the "orphaned disasters." Nobody -- they are not on the headlines; they are not on TV, and they are ignored and overlooked. Were they not in Uganda or elsewhere. You take care of the Congo -- Eastern Congo -- thousands of people die every month.

Stephanopoulos: What is the most immediate need right now?

Annan: I think the most immediate need really, is to try and save lives. We to try and get in the logistics to be able to distribute supplies. We are moving to the center of the area, but because of the devastation of the infrastructure --

Stephanopoulos: They are backed up.

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