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  DenmarkPledges Cyclone Assistance to Bangladesh  
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                                                           Bangla Version Development partners use global facility to finance recovery Dhaka 5, December 2007: The Government of Denmark today pledged 10 million Danish Kroner, about US$2 million, to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to help Bangladesh recover from cyclone Sidr.  Ms. Ulla Tornaes, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, called for a coordinated, long-term international recovery strategy for Bangladesh during a visit to the country. GFDRR—a partnership of the UN, World Bank, and donors such as Denmark—was created to help the most vulnerable countries reduce natural disaster risks. It helps governments prepare for disasters by strengthening their capacity to respond to emergencies, invest in critical infrastructure, and make innovative risk financing products accessible.  Bangladesh suffered from a devastating cyclone on November 15, which killed more than 3,000 people, destroyed crops and livestock, and left coastal communities deeply scarred.  “We hope that this contribution will help the Government leverage additional financing for long-term recovery efforts to further strengthen the country’s resilience and disaster preparedness, rebuild people’s lives, and bridge the gap between humanitarian relief and long-term reconstruction,” said Tornaes.  Although officials believe the death toll could go higher, they noted that hundreds of thousands of people escaped the third deadliest cyclone in 40 years. Disaster officials praised the Government’s coordinated evacuation of people in the threatened areas and the immediate emergency response by the international community.  The Government is also credited with actions over the years—from installing early warning systems to building emergency shelters—to reduce the country’s vulnerability.  The Danish contribution to GFDRR complements other donor efforts, including the World Bank’s recently announced $250 million support package to Bangladesh. “Increasingly the international community is focusing on prevention and long term risk reduction, not just reconstruction,” said Zhu Xian, the World Bank’s Bangladesh Country Director.   “GFDRR involvement after disasters helps ensure that the focus is not solely on the immediate needs of repairing individual homes and social infrastructure, but on longer term recovery and preparedness.”   Xian noted that Bangladesh has suffered from floods and a cyclone this year, as well as high international oil and food prices. This  creates an immediate need for support from the international community. The GFDRR has already provided $300,000 to Bangladesh for disaster preparedness, and a comprehensive disaster risk management program has been launched in South Asia to increase disaster resilience.  The program will support the development of a regional strategy to manage risk, share knowledge, and provide training and capacity building.  Other countries participating in the GFDRR include Australia, Denmark, the European Commission, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  Canada, Finland, France and Germany are expected to join soon. www.gfdrr.orgwww.um.dk 

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