To accompany feature Quake-Science
Beawiharta  /  Reuters
A man leaps through the ruins of a house in the tsunami-hit region of Banda Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra last month. Six weeks after the tsunami, governments have only given a fraction of the aid they promised.
updated 2/9/2005 12:06:19 AM ET 2005-02-09T05:06:19

The United Nations said governments have only given a fraction of the money they pledged for tsunami aid and warned that more cash is needed to fund long-term reconstruction efforts.

The global body was also considering moving its base in Indonesia’s worst-hit Aceh province because of security concerns. Al-Qaida linked suicide bombers have targeted Westerners in Indonesia three times in the past three years.

Estimates of the number of people killed by the Dec. 26 tsunami that struck 11 nations ranged from about 162,000 to 178,000 — most of them in Indonesia.

Another 26,000 to 142,000 are missing, but officials say it’s too early to add them to the toll with bodies still being found. Indonesia said Tuesday it had found 1,055 more corpses, raising the country’s confirmed death toll to at least 115,756.

U.S. issues updated list
In Washington, the State Department, accounting for all but 18 Americans, reported Tuesday that 18 U.S. citizens died in the tsunami and 15 others are presumed dead.

Beginning with some 30,000 inquiries from relatives, friends and others, the department reduced its investigation to a total of 18 missing Americans.

“We will not stop until we know everything we can know,” said Adam Ereli, the deputy spokesman.

Of the 18 dead, 10 perished in Thailand and eight in Sri Lanka, Ereli said. Of the 15 presumed dead, 14 were in Thailand and one was in Sri Lanka, he said.

Before listing an American as presumed dead there had to be “compelling evidence,” Ereli said, such as eyewitnesses reporting a person had suddenly disappeared when the disaster struck.

Minor quakes felt
New earthquakes rattled the region early Tuesday, but there were no reports of damage or injury. Temblors were felt in Taiwan and Papua New Guinea, which were unaffected by the disaster.

With the emergency phase of relief operations over, Japan said it will pull its relief troops out of Indonesia by the end of March, in line with Jakarta’s wishes.

But hundreds of thousands of survivors are still in need and the United Nations begged governments to deliver promised aid.

Nations have pledged $977 million, but only $360 million has reached the world body’s coffers, said Margareta Wahlstrom, special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“This is our key message to government donors: Please convert your pledges into hard cash in the bank. It’s only cash in the bank that makes it possible to do work on the ground,” she said Monday in Geneva.

Reconstruction funds needed
Although the United Nations is not short of funds to maintain its humanitarian relief operations, it warned that money is still needed in the long run for reconstruction.

Governments “are very generous classically with food, health, and children, but they are very slow in filling us up on livelihoods and shelter,” she said.

The State Department said last week that Washington has given nearly $119 million out of $350 million it has pledged in tsunami aid.

But in Sri Lanka, corruption was hampering aid operations. Officials have been accused of plundering relief supplies, demanding bribes from tsunami victims, and being drunk on duty.

Several people were suspended last week, with others under investigation.

The U.N. World Food Program will soon dispatch more food aid monitors to try to “abolish any corruption within the government system,” coordinator Dawit Getachew said.

Dozens of tsunami survivors staged a noisy protest that disrupted traffic on a main road in a village near Colombo, accusing a village official of giving food and cash aid only to his supporters.

In Indonesia’s Aceh province, security concerns prompted U.N. officials to consider relocating the base for the massive international relief effort there.

Joel Boutroue, U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator, said the United Nations “does not expect to be a target” of an attack. But he said the walled compound in Banda Aceh, where 100 aid workers live and work, had “structural weaknesses” and “is not optimal ... from a security perspective.”

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