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Aid agency promises good use of public funds

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has pledged to spend additional public funds wisely to cope with the rise in the number of global catastrophes.

The head of the SDC, Martin Dahinden, told a meeting in Bern on Friday that 2010 had been a “record” year for Swiss humanitarian aid, with a powerful earthquake in Haiti and heavy flooding in Pakistan.

Dahinden said Swiss experts were currently active on three fronts: Libya, Ivory Coast and Japan.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said the massive quake and tsunami in Japan showed “how much even developed countries of the planet are vulnerable”.

Toni Frisch, who retires as head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit next month, noted that while the media reported on the “spectacular crises” around the world, there was also  suffering that went unnoticed, for example among the people in the Sudanese region of Darfur and in the civil war in Somalia.

Parliament voted in February to increase aid payments to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR