City showcases post-tsunami rebuilding efforts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka|
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Mayor David Miller and Councillor Pam McConnell hosted a Tsunami Relief Forum today to showcase post-tsunami rebuilding efforts and the involvement of Toronto City staff and staff from other Canadian municipalities in the devastated regions of Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Organized jointly by the City of Toronto and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the forum included presentations by municipal employees who participated in assistance missions to the tsunami-stricken communities. A short film was also screened describing the various relief projects that are part of FCM’s post-tsunami reconstruction programs.
The Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004, destroyed or disrupted the ability of local governments to deliver basic services to residents in affected areas. Since then, the City of Toronto has worked with FCM to establish partnerships with local governments to provide the necessary mid- to long-term assistance needed to rebuild and rehabilitate local infrastructure in Aceh Province, Indonesia and Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.
“I’m very pleased the City has been able to partner with FCM to provide the much-needed expertise to assist with the post-tsunami rebuilding efforts,” said Mayor David Miller. “Municipalities are well-suited to provide critical mid- to long-term assistance, and play a vital role in the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise needed to rebuild local infrastructure and community pride in the tsunami-stricken areas. Sustainable development is about building stronger communities to ensure they are efficient, resilient and better prepared to cope with any challenges to their municipal infrastructure in the long-run.”
Six City of Toronto staff members have participated in nine missions to Indonesia from 2005 to 2008, and will participate in two more missions in 2008, for a total of 11 missions by the end of the program on March 31, 2009. Six City staff members have been involved in seven missions to Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2008, and will participate in three more missions in 2008, for a total of 10 missions.
As part of FCM’s post-tsunami programs, City of Toronto staff have worked on a small-scale backyard composting program, waste water drainage projects, and creating public education campaigns around effective waste disposal, reduction and recycling, and public health. Staff also provided assistance with improvements to the public library system.
In November 2007, Toronto City Councillor Pam McConnell, FCM Vice President Berry Vrbanovic, Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco and senior FCM staff participated in a post-tsunami program evaluation mission in Sri Lanka.
“The City’s Tsunami Relief Forum is a celebration of human spirit and long-term, sustainable change,” said Councillor Pam McConnell. “One of the most striking images in Sri Lanka was 400 unused houses, with no roofs, because another country’s NGO abandoned them when the money ran out. I was told that, while most NGOs have gone home, Toronto and FCM remained to finish the job. Had Toronto simply thrown $1 million at the problem, our house might not have a roof, either.”
The Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided $8.6 million over three years for FCM’s Canada/Aceh Local Government Assistance Program in Indonesia (CALGAP), and $9 million over four years for the Canada/Sri Lanka Municipal Cooperation Program (MCP). The programs are scheduled to end on March 31, 2009. FCM is presently in discussions with CIDA to continue Canadian municipal assistance to both countries.
“After the devastating 2004 tsunami, the City of Toronto was one of the first of FCM’s municipal members to offer assistance,” said FCM President Gord Steeves. “The City’s leadership in mobilizing support for a coordinated municipal response, as well as its commitment with other Canadian municipalities to support long-term rebuilding, has made a significant contribution to tsunami-affected communities in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.”
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.
Stuart Green, Office of the Mayor, 416-338-7119, firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Pam McConnell, 416-392-7916, email@example.com
Maurice Gingues, Communications Advisor, FCM, 613-907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Photos of post-tsunami assistance missions available upon request.
Backgrounder - Timeline
• December 26, 2004 - Earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastates regions of Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
• Mayor David Miller engages the City’s Office of Emergency Management to assist with the co-ordination of the City’s relief efforts.
• January to February 2005 - Municipalities across Canada contribute to the relief effort. In Ontario alone, 69 municipal governments co-ordinate or support local fundraising activities.
• Through dialogue with the Federal and Provincial governments, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Canadian municipalities indicated they were well-positioned to assist in the longer term reconstruction and restoration of the physical, social and economic infrastructure systems.
• February 2005 - FCM receives a mandate from its membership of 1,600 Canadian municipalities to co-ordinate long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance to tsunami-affected communities.
• February to April 2005 - FCM participates in Canadian intergovernmental assessment missions to Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two countries most devastated by the tsunami disaster.
• September 2005 - FCM launches the Canada/Sri Lanka Municipal Cooperation Program (MCP) with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
• May 2006 - FCM launches the Canada/Aceh Local Government Assistance Program (CALGAP) with funding from CIDA.
• September 2006 - City Council agrees to enter into two technical partnerships between Toronto and Batticaloa, Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh, Indonesia from 2007 to 2009.
• February 2007 - City of Toronto staff help launch the “Banda Aceh Clean and Beautiful” initiative and community composting project.
• Six City staff members have participated in nine missions to Indonesia from 2005 to 2008, and will participate in two more missions in 2008, for a total of 11 missions by the end of the program on March 31, 2009. Six City staff members have been involved in six missions to Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2008, and will participate in three more missions in 2008, for a total of 10 missions.
• November 2007 - Toronto City Councillor Pam McConnell, FCM Vice President Berry Vrbanovic, Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco and senior FCM staff participate in a post-tsunami program evaluation mission in Sri Lanka.
• March 2008 - City of Toronto welcomes a delegation of local government leaders from Indonesia and Sri Lanka for a technical mission to Canada on municipal leadership and planning.
• March 31, 2009 - Canada’s post-tsunami reconstruction programs in Sri Lanka and Indonesia end.
• FCM is presently in discussions with CIDA to continue Canadian municipal assistance to both countries.