[Marxism] Aljazeera: Tsunami toll at 123,000; at least 52,000 in Aceh
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Dec 30 22:29:40 MST 2004
Friday 31 December 2004, 1:09 Makka Time, 22:09 GMT
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Millions of people around the Indian Ocean are in need of food and clean
water as the threat of disease and hunger becomes as big a threat as the
most devastating tsunami on record that struck on Sunday.
The official toll crossed 123,000 on Wednesday, but the true scale of
the disaster may not be known for days, or even weeks, as rescuers
struggle to reach stricken areas and grieving survivors searched for
"Entire villages have been washed away," according to Rod Volway,
programme manager for Care Canada's emergency response team which was
one of the first aid groups that went into Indonesia's northern Aceh
province, the worst-hit area.
He added: "This isn't just a situation of giving out food and water.
Entire towns and villages need to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Everything has been destroyed."
Countries around the world sent rescue teams, food and millions of
dollars in aid to the hardest-hit nations of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India
and Thailand to cope with the aftermath of the strongest earthquake in
As the world pledged $220 million in cash and sent an international
flotilla of ships and aircraft with hundreds of tonnes of supplies,
history's biggest relief operation battled with the enormity of the
The United Nations said it was preparing to issue what could be its
largest appeal for donations in its history to cope with its biggest and
costliest relief effort.
Indonesian aircraft dropped food to isolated areas along the western
coast of Sumatra, an island the size of Florida, where the tsunami
obliterated entire towns.
US President George Bush said a pledge of $35 million in aid was just a
start and that the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Japan, would
set up a forward command post in Thailand to coordinate efforts.
He announced on Wednesday that the US, Australia, Japan and India would
form a "core group" to spearhead the international response to the
catastrophe and urged other nations to join.
The Pentagon is sending the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, a
helicopter carrier and a submarine to the region.
Countries from impoverished Cambodia to faraway Brazil have also joined
in the relief effort.
Middle East countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also
participating, announcing they were sending $10 million each.
Indonesia has suffered the biggest number of victims, with 52,000
estimated to be dead, although the toll could rise to 80,000 in Aceh
alone, the province closest to the quake's epicentre.
In the provincial capital Banda Aceh, two aftershocks on Wednesday night
woke nervous residents. Many people preferred to sleep outside.
Indian officials said their toll had hit 10,850.
In Sri Lanka, where nearly 23,000 people have been reported killed, many
said there was still no sign of aid for ruined communities.
The tsunami is the world's biggest disaster since a cyclone killed
130,000 people in Bangladesh in 1991.
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