Islamic nations pledge $145m for Aceh

The world's biggest grouping of Muslim countries has pledged $145 million for Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province, to be spent largely on children orphaned by the 26 December disaster, says a report.

    Aceh was the worst hit by the tsunami disaster

    The money will finance various projects over a four to five-year period, chair of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was quoted as saying on Sunday by the New Straits Times. 

    The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), along with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), has already identified five projects to fund, including a home for orphans in Aceh. Work to build the shelter will start in three month's time, Badawi said. 

    "The OIC and IDB have made the necessary contacts in Indonesia. What is important now is to identify where, and how big the shelter should be," he said. 

    Alliance set up

    Abdullah was speaking in Saudi Arabia after a meeting with a delegation from the Islamic Development Bank and the Organisation of Islamic Conference. He is in Saudi Arabia for a three-day visit which ends on Sunday. 

    In January, the Organisation of Islamic Conference set up an alliance to rescue tsunami orphans in Aceh from foreign influences following reports that missionary groups would place them in Christian children's homes. 

    More than 230,000 people are believed to have died in Aceh when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake unleashed a tsunami that devastated the coastline in December. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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