ME and Ophelia

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

And Tsunami Disaster

No doubt everyone reading this would join me in expressing deepest sympathy for every person and creature affected by the catastrophic disaster that has struck South-East Asia. It is brain numbing to imagine what is happening right now following the 9.0 earthquake near Indonesia and the resulting tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

The latest from Reuters says the death toll has risen to 36,946 people. Officials fear the figure could rise to almost 57,000.

Ever since the ghastly news broke, bulletins and special reports have appeared on British television. It was good to see Britain responding within a matter of hours: emergency tents, aid, tonnes of equipment and aid workers were flown out and special planes laid on. It is the largest humanitarian disaster ever. Help is pouring in to the region from all over the world.

For information on how to help please visit Conversation with Dina in Bombay and a group of bloggers at SEA-EAT who are providing news and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

Thanks to Ethan for the links and for pointing out the moving story about how local fisherman saved many of the tourists who were visiting the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, off the southernmost tip on India.

UPDATE: See more ways to help at The Command Post's extensively updated Dec. 28 post.

UPDATE Dec. 29: Fears disaster toll could hit 100,000 - The death toll from the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster could eventually rise to more than 100,000 lives, the World Health Organisation warned last night.

Attenborough family in shock as granddaughter is killed in tsunami - Lord Attenborough, the eminent actor and director, is among those grieving after his 14-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, was killed in the Asian tsunami disaster.

UPDATE Dec. 29: World united in sorrow, says Blair. Britain is ready to help those hit by the devastating tidal wave "in any way we can", Tony Blair has declared. The British government immediately pledged £15 million. At least 50 Britons feared dead. On British TV news Oxfam says it needs to raise £3m right away. Aid needs to get there NOW. I have just donated online to Oxfam UK via DEC - Tsunami Earthquake.

TV pictures showed plane loads of bottled drinking water from England and massive numbers of crates from Oxfam being fork lifted onto transporter planes readying to fly out to South Asia and return Britons home. The magnitude of the disaster is unimagineable. In some areas there are not enough people alive to bury the dead. Mass graves are being dug. Hospitals are overflowing and running out of supplies. Many more people will die of curable diseases if adequate aid does not arrive in time.

There is no drinking water. Decomposing bodies are laying around under rubble in towns that have been flattened. There aren't enough people around to look for the dead. Group graves are being dug hurridly by ordinary people with no time for ceremony in an effort to reduce spread of disease. It's horrendous. Governments are in dissaray, there is confusion, fear and panic. It's not clear how the international aid agencies are being co-ordinated. My heart goes out everyone there. The scale of the disaster and areas affected is mind boggling. Here's hoping the UN comes up trumps this time. The world is watching.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 12/28/2004
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