Clinton urges continued efforts to help tsunami victims

Former President Bill Clinton said Thursday that efforts to help victims of last year's tsunami must continue.

Clinton, who met with World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and other development officials, said the world's attention has moved on just as Asian governments had begun to rebuild from the tsunami that left more than 200,000 dead or missing in a dozen Indian Ocean countries.

"We must tackle the tough issues with the same determination and drive that characterized the immediate aftermath to the crisis," Clinton said in a statement distributed after the meetings.

Clinton said relief agencies and others have made progress, including national recovery plans, online systems to track relief efforts and a regionwide early warning system expected to be operating within a year.

He said problems remain, however. In India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, for example, thousands of teachers and civil servants died in the tsunami; roads and other infrastructure were destroyed. He said that in Indonesia's Aceh province, tens of thousands still live in inadequate facilities.

Clinton said he and other officials have endorsed a plan to improve shelters and build thousands of better facilities.

The World Bank, the U.N. Development Program and other agencies also will work with local governments, Clinton said, on microcredit programs, job training and ways to replace equipment for entrepreneurs and skilled workers, AP reported.

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