Denmark provides 2 million dollars to Bangladesh

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Dhaka, Dec 4 (UNI) Denmark today announced an additional donation of two million dollars for post-cyclone reconstruction in Bangladesh's coastal region lashed by cyclone Sidr last month.

Visiting Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Toernaes announced the fresh pledge at a press briefing after her talks with Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury.

Earlier, Copenhagen donated one million dollars as emergency relief aid for the Sidr victims.

The new Danish grant was committed a day after the country's interim government said it would require one billion dollars for long-term reconstructions in the cyclone battered 15 coastal districts.

Ms Toernaes, who visited some cyclone-hit areas in southern Bangladesh and met the affected people, said she was impressed the way the government set up things for relief distribution as well as pre-cyclone warning and evacuation.

She said additional two million dollars will be transferred to the World Bank where a foundation has been set up to spend the money for recovery and reconstruction in the post-cyclone period.

The Minister said Denmark is working in agriculture, water, sanitation and human rights sector, saying that Bangladesh and Denmark are close partners bilaterally and in international arena.

Ms Toernaes said she discussed with the Foreign Adviser the political situation in Bangladesh and stressed that ''it is very important that Bangladesh stays close to the roadmap in terms of having elections.'' ''Of course, it is a huge thing to organise general elections,'' she said and hoped that the government would manage it and transform Bangladesh into a lively democracy where every individual have right to vote in free and fair manner.

Asked if she apprehends any detraction from the declared roadmap following the cyclone Sidr, the Danish Minister said ''I certainly hope not.'' She said she understands from the discussion with the Foreign Adviser that the caretaker government is working very seriously to ensure that general elections be held and it is important that the roadmap that has been set up is going to be kept.

Foreign Adviser Dr Chowdhury said cyclone Sidr would not negatively impact the election roadmap.


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