NETHERLANDS - The tsunami support fund set up by the ABP and PGGM pension funds earlier this month could raise as much as €25m.

Alfred Kool, spokesman for €59bn healthcare fund PGGM, told IPE the support fund for elderly survivors of the Asian tsunami disaster could be up and running as early as the summer.

“We want to set up a Unicef-style fund aimed at helping elderly victims of the tsunami and other future natural disasters,” said Kool, who is project leader of the new fund. “We are calling on pension funds all over the world to join us in our effort.

“In countries like those hit by the tsunami, children play a crucial role in supporting people in old age. With so many children dying in the tsunami, there are thousands of elderly people out there who have nothing to fall back on. This is an exceptional situation. Therefore, we want to set up a fund to help those elderly people in need,” Kool said.

The tsunami fund will be financed by a voluntary donation of €1 for each pension participant or sleeper. PGGM is currently writing to its 1.9m participants informing them of the new fund.

PGGM said it could eventually see the support fund being turned into a Unicef-style fund helping elderly victims of future natural disasters, possible resorting under the umbrella of an international organisation like the United Nations.

ABP and PGGM have each donated €500,000 to get the support fund started. Kool is currently approaching pension funds throughout the world to help set up the new fund. PGGM is also talking to relief organisations and the Dutch development aid ministry for assistance in the practical side of running the fund.

Alfred Kool can be reached at PGGM in the Netherlands by phone on +31 (0) 30 277 9955 and by e-mail