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Forum ponders post-tsunami reconstruction
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-28 06:22

The deadly Indian Ocean tsunami brought about losses and sadness, but it is time to look ahead and plan for the future of the ravaged regions.

That is the idea put forward by participants of an international forum held yesterday in Beijing on rebuilding confidence and charting the road to reconstruction in the post-tsunami period.

"Efforts should be made to boost international investors's confidence in the development of the ravaged region," said Long Yongtu, secretary general of the Boao Forum for Asia, an organizer of the forum.

In the long run, wrong judgment of the situation may bring about greater damage to the disaster-hit regions than the disaster itself, he said.

During the reconstruction, the affected countries should play the key role amid international aid while disadvantaged people, including orphans and women, should be paid special attention to, Long said.

Estimates by the Asian Develop-ment Bank show the damage to local GDP (gross domestic product) growth will be minimal, except for the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which are of small size, according to Zhang Xuechun, senior financial economist of the Asian Development Bank China resident mission.

But she said such calculation only included damage to "hardware" such as bridges, houses and roads and do not count factors like people having no work to do because of the disaster.

The affected countries have already started their recovery programmes.

Aa Kustia, ambassador of Indonesia to China, told the forum that "the Government of Indonesia will do its best to continue maintaining stable macro-economy, creating more conducive business climate as well as relaxing and simplifying investment and business regulations."

Jiang Yiman, executive vice-president of the Red Cross Society of China, another organizer of the forum, said discussions on building Sino-Sri Lankan friendship villages are underway. It is expected that Chinese companies could help build such villages, she said.

In another development, the Chinese Government has made sure that it will undertake a batch of reconstruction projects in the ravaged countries, according to yesterday's People's Daily.

Chinese embassies in disaster-hit countries are also organizing local Chinese-funded companies to help.

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