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Leaders to Meet in Indonesia on Tsunami Relief - 2004-12-31


World leaders will gather in Indonesia next week for an emergency summit on southern Asia's tsunami disaster, trying to coordinate relief efforts and provide health care for survivors of the devastating earthquakes and ocean waves.

Indonesia's foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda said Friday his government will host the meeting next Thursday for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and senior officials from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has vastly increased Beijing's aid to tsunami-devastated countries by more than 60 million dollars. China previously promised three million dollars in aid. Chinese state-run media report Mr. Wen made the announcement today during talks with diplomats from Asian countries hit by the tsunami.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that world governments and organizations had pledged 500 million dollars for relief efforts, but damage estimates are in the billions. Mr. Annan says the relief operation will require an "unprecedented global response."

Information for this report is provided by Reuters and AP.

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