Annan: 5-10 Years to Rebuild from Tsunami

Annan: They are backed up. So we need to have helicopters. We need trucks. We need air traffic controllers to be able to really move the goods as quickly as we can, and get to the people who need it. In fact, we began doing air drops-- The World Food Program, the U.N. World Food Program is doing air drops in areas that are not accessible. And we [are] going to continue to do that until we are able to open up. And this is where the core group, which has been set up with logistical and military capacity are going to play an important role.

Stephanopoulos: There was some suggestion when the core group was set up that it was an attempt to bypass the United Nations. Are you confident now that everyone in the core group, that all of the industrialized nations, recognize the leadeship role of the United Nations here?

Annan: Yes. I think they all do. They all do it because I have spoken to the core group. I had a meeting with them three days ago, and Jan Egeland has joined the group to be able to make them aware of our needs, our requirements. And I've spoken to other leaders around the world, including the Chinese, and they all want to accept the U.N. leadership. And they want to work with us.

Stephanopoulos: Have you spoken to President Bush about this?

Annan: I haven't spoken to -- I spoke to him before Christmas. But I haven't spoken to him about this. I've been working with Secretary Powell on this. And as you know, he was here yesterday to pursue the discussion.

Stephanopoulos: And Secretary Powell is now on his way to the region. And I know that many of the nations in the region have invited you to go to a pledge meeting on Jan. 6. Are you prepared to go?

Annan: Yes. We have planned our own pledging conference here in New York on the 6th of January. And the leaders of the region are also getting together on the 6th. And so we've joined our efforts. I've told them that we need to do it together. So I will go to Jakarta to launch the appeal from there and work without the leaders of the region who are also determined to play a role. And I think that's a very positive (inaudible)…

Stephanopoulos: And when you look beyond the immediate crisis, what kind of appeal are you going to be making? What needs to be done over the long term?

Annan: I think once we have been able to go beyond the relief and emergency phase, you have to get into recovery. In fact, some of the recovery has to start now. People need shelter. They need food. They need health, sanitation, clean water. So there are quite a lot of things that we need to do.

And then, of course, there's the whole reconstruction of not only of houses, but of the infrastructure and schools and all that that has been destroyed. So the international community is going to have to support some of these countries. Some can manage themselves. India has said they can manage on their own. I think Malaysia was hit, but not as bad as the others. And I suspect Malaysia can manage. But some of the others really need assistance. And it's going to be major, major support.

Stephanopoulos: And how do you avoid the problem we see so many times with natural disasters: You see this outpouring of compassion, but then the immediate crisis passes, the cameras go away, the money dries up and the aid doesn't reach its intended target. How do you avoid that this time?

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