Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have announced that they will donate 1 Million Dollars from the Bush-Clinton Houston Tsunami Fund to be used towards the welfare of children in Sri Lanka affected by the tsunami. Additional money will also be made available from the fund to assist other sectors such as housing. President Bush said, in Sri Lanka they were devastated by the sight of a child seated on the ground drawing pictures of the tragedy. The Bush-Clinton funds will build 100 children’s playgrounds in 13 districts on the coast in all tsunami affected areas, to help children overcome their fears in the wake of the disaster.

The two former Presidents made this announcement, while stating that a local private fund bearing their names has raised $10 million to date. The monies are being targeted to projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives that were affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 and visited by the two former Presidents during their tour of the region earlier this year. The event was held at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston before a crowd of several thousand contributors to the Bush-Clinton Houston Tsunami Fund.

Prior to the event, Presidents Bush and Clinton had a private meeting with Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Bernard A.B. Goonetileke, as well as the Ambassadors of Indonesia and Thailand, during which they discussed the post-tsunami reconstruction efforts underway in each of the affected countries.

On January 3, 2005, President George W. Bush asked President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton to head a nationwide fundraising campaign to aid the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Bush-Clinton Houston Tsunami Fund grew out of this national movement, inspired and chaired by local businessman Jim McIngvale and his wife Linda. Since January, more than 14,000 contributors - mostly local Houstonians, schools, churches, and businesses - have participated. Donations to this cause were also received from the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, as well as the PGA TOUR and Major League Baseball.

President Bush said, “When we announced the Bush-Clinton Houston Tsunami Fund in January, we never expected the overwhelming response we received”, “From all of our Houston based companies and corporations, from the schools and churches, to the Girl and Boy Scout troops, to neighbours who went door to door, everybody wanted to help. This was truly what I call Points of Light in action.”

President Clinton said, “President Bush and I hope these funds will help in some small way to rebuild the families and the communities that were torn apart by this profound tragedy.” “We have tried to target these funds in a way that maximize their economic impact and spur the kind of job creation that will give these wonderful people hope for the future.”

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

06 May 2005


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