A decade after a massive tsunami triggered by an earthquake smashed the coastline of around 14 nations; India on Friday announced a $1 million (around Rs 6 crore) contribution to a United Nations fund for strengthening early warning systems for natural disasters.
The contribution made to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness in Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian countries is expected to boost ESCAP's efforts to strengthen early warning systems through regional and South-South cooperation.
Announced by Ambassador of India to Thailand Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the donation will also ensure that vulnerable communities receive the timely warning information that is required to save lives and livelihoods in disasters.
"India joins the international community in its efforts to prepare for any such natural calamity in the future by establishing effective early warning systems," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in her message.
On December 26, 2004, a 9.3-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia's western point generated a series of massive tsunamis that smashed the coastline of 14 countries, including India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia. The quake and the tsunamis claimed thousands of lives.
The trust fund supports activities that build resilience through strengthened early warning systems for coastal hazards.
Noting that the Indian Ocean tsunami was devastating in its impact on coastal communities in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Shringla said that despite suffering large casualties, India was one of the first countries to extend assistance in search and rescue and rehabilitation of the victims in neighbouring countries.
"Since then, India has made great strides to strengthen its multi-hazard early warning system and has extended this facility to cover the region.
"On the tenth anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, the Government of India has announced the contribution to the Tsunami Trust Fund of UNESCAP to further strengthen the process of building resilience to natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region," he said, according to a UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan statement.
"ESCAP is extremely pleased to partner with the Government of India to further strengthen regional early warning systems and build resilience to natural disasters," said Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary.