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US administration urges citizens to give to t -

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US administration urges citizens to give to tsunami relief

AM - Tuesday, 4 January , 2005 08:17:23

Reporter: Leigh Sales

ELEANOR HALL: To the United States, and after increasing its aid pledge to US$350 million, the
White House is now urging American businesses and citizens to give more to the disaster relief
effort.

The Bush administration has pressed two former presidents into service to head a national
fundraising drive.

As North America Correspondent Leigh Sales reports.

LEIGH SALES: Last week, the White House faced several days of criticism for its slow reaction to
the tsunami catastrophe.

The US response has been scaled up and the White House is now putting its full might behind a
national fundraising drive.

GEORGE W. BUSH: The greatest source of America's generosity is not our Government; it's the good
heart of the American people. In the week since the tsunami struck, private citizens have
contributed millions of dollars for disaster relief and reconstruction.

To draw even greater amounts of private donations, I have asked two of America's most distinguished
private citizens to head a nationwide charitable fund raising effort. Both men, both presidents,
know the great decency of our people. They bring tremendous leadership, experience to this role and
they bring good hearts.

LEIGH SALES: Neither George Bush Senior nor Bill Clinton made any remarks, leaving the announcement
to the current President.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm grateful to the former presidents Clinton and Bush for taking on this important
responsibility and for serving our country once again.

In the coming days, president Clinton and Bush will ask Americans to donate directly to reliable
charities.

LEIGH SALES: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he's concerned that not all of
donations pledged worldwide, around $2.5 billion so far, will make it to victims.

In past, for example with the Bam earthquake in Iran last year, not all of the promised money
showed up once coverage of the catastrophe faded.

Mr Annan is asking nations to follow through, and he'll stress that message when he arrives in
Jakarta for an emergency summit of world leaders later this week.

KOFI ANNAN: I think my presence in the region, and the meeting I am going to have with the leaders
of the region, hopefully will send two messages - a message of determination by the leaders of the
region and the international community to do whatever it can, whatever is necessary, to help give
them relief and to help them put their lives back together. The second, I hope it will give them a
message of hope, a message of hope that they are not alone.

LEIGH SALES: US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the President's
brother, are also in Asia to tour affected regions and attend the Thursday summit.

The two are to report directly to President Bush, so the United States Government can better tailor
its response to the needs on the ground.

This is Leigh Sales in Washington, for AM.