Annan: 5-10 Years to Rebuild from Tsunami

Annan: That's why I think what we need to do is to stress to everyone that the governments and the compassionate individuals who are giving money that this is a long-term problem, and that it is not going to go away tomorrow, and that one-time giving may not be enough and we may need more.

The other thing is for us and the governments who are getting the assistance to organize this effectively to make sure we get value for the dollar, that resources reach those who are intended for. And not only do the work, but tell those who give the money what we are doing with it, what we have achieve and how the money is being spent.

Stephanopoulos: But even in recent history -- A year ago we were all dealing with the Bam earthquake. A billion dollars was pledged immediately, $2 billion has been pledged this time. But only a fraction of the Bam money just a year later had gone through.

Annan: This is the major problem we have. It's a classic problem we have with all these humanitarian issues. And I hope this time, given the fact that this is really an international crisis. Yes, it hit Thailand, it hit Indonesia, it hit Sri Lanka, but over 30 countries are involved. They have victims.

If you go to Scandinavia or Germany and others, they're all very concerned, looking for missing citizens. So in a way, it's a crisis affecting one, which at the same time it's a globalized issue. The response has been global, but the victims were also international.

Stephanopoulos: And how long do you think this process, this reconstruction process is going to take?

Annan: It will differ from country to country, but my own sense is that you probably have five to 10 years.

Stephanopoulos: Five to 10 years?

Annan: Five to 10 years.

Stephanopoulos: To rebuild?

Annan: To rebuild.

Stephanopoulos: And billions of dollars, no doubt?

Annan: And billions of dollars. Because the devastation is enormous, it will require billions of dollars. Of course, the goverments themselves will have to do what they can. But they need international support to be able to do it.

Stephanopoulos: This comes at the end of what you called a horrible year for the United Nations, the shadow of the oil-for-food scandal. Given that, how do you convince the world this time that you can handle an effort on this scale with confidence, with credibility and without corruption?

Annan: I think the oil-for-food issue was a unique issue. It was a unique scheme. Yes, there may have been some corruption. There may have been some mismanagement. But the program acheieved its results. It was effective against -- the sanctions were effective. Iraq was disarmed. Iraq is well-fed. We will make sure that they get their basic necessities with regards to health and others. And, in fact, the distribution system was so effective that today we use the distribution cards as the basis for voter registration for the elections.

So, yes, there were, there has been some wrongdoing, which is being looked into, but we should not forget that it achieved its results.

Stephanopoulos: Yet, … it also made the U.N. a target. And I guess what I'm asking you, does it prove -- can you prove that this, the handling of this crisis, that you can achieve those results without the corruption?

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...