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Monday, January 10, 2005

WORLD BANK PRESIDENT VISITS MALDIVES DISASTER-AFFECTED AREAS

Washington, January 10, 2005 - The President of the World Bank Group, James D.Wolfensohn, yesterday visited tsunami-hit areas in the Meemu Atol of theMaldives, where he visited affected communities and saw at first-hand the extentof damage to their lives and the local infrastructure. During his day-long visit, Mr Wolfensohn met with President Maumoon AbdulGayoom, Foreign Minister Fathulla Jameel, Finance Minister Mohamed Jaleel as well as other ministers and senior officials."Communities are demonstrating their resilience by organizing local support networks and coordinating relief operations," Mr Wolfensohn said. "It is truly impressive to see the way the Maldives has provided basic necessities to affected people, and started to lay the foundations to reconstruct the country in order to make it again one of the most successful examples of development in South Asia."Maldives is proportionately among the countries worst affected by the disaster and will likely face the highest per capita reconstruction cost. Damage to the infrastructure of what was for a long time the most prosperous South Asian country is immense. Over a third of the total population of almost 300,000 was greatly affected, and over 122,000 people were made homeless. These figures reflect the fact that, out of a total of 199 inhabited islands, 20 were totally devastated and 53 suffered severe damage.

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