Unnamed foreigner offers $130m in Sidr aid
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

An anonymous foreign benefactor has offered $130 million to Bangladesh for rebuilding damaged schools and revitalise livelihoods in the cyclone Sidr-affected areas of the country.

The fund will be channelled to the Bangladesh government through the Islamic Development Bank, a delegation of the lending agency informed journalists at the Planning Ministry Tuesday.

This is the first of such gesture from a foreigner since the government sought support from the international community to rebuild life in coastal districts, ravaged by the worst cyclone on November 15 last year.

The offer is the biggest among pledges from individuals for immediate Sidr reconstruction supports and even larger than the assistance available from most of the lending agencies or donor countries for Sidr victims.

IDB adviser Mohammad Hassan Salem led the four-member team to finance and planning adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam to discuss the generosity of the unnamed philanthropist.

An agreement in this regard will be signed between the Economic Relations Division and the Islamic Development Bank in Dhaka on February 4.

'This donation is dedicated to the cyclone victims in the worst-affected areas in coastal Bangladesh,' Salem said, without giving any identity of the philanthropist and origin of the offer.

The benefactor wanted to remain unnamed, he told a questioner. The major portion of the amount — $110 million — will be used for reconstruction of schools in the affected areas and the rest will be spent for agriculture and fisheries rehabilitation, he said.

Asked about the bank's direct assistance for the Sidr-affected people, he said that a delegation would visit Bangladesh shortly and make assessment of the Sidr losses before deciding the assistance plan.

The finance adviser said the government received $100 million from the World Bank, apart from assistance that came for relief operations immediately after the November 15, 2007 cyclone.

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