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Friday, December 31, 2004

U.S. Boosts Tsunami Aid Tenfold to $350M

CRAWFORD, Texas Dec 31, 2004 — The United States is pledging $350 million to help tsunami victims, a tenfold increase over its first wave of aid, President Bush announced Friday.

"Initial findings of American assessment teams on the ground indicate that the need for financial and other assistance will steadily increase in the days and weeks ahead," Bush said Friday in a statement released in Crawford, Texas, where he is staying at his ranch.

"Our contributions will continue to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become clearer," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this epic disaster."

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Countdown parties scaled down in respect of tsunami victims

New Year celebrations across Singapore have been muted as many event organisers have scaled back their activities to usher in 2005.

Some have even revised their plans at the last minute to help victims of the deadly tsunamis.

At the Northeast Community Development Council, its countdown party was cancelled altogether.

Instead, many of the Eunos residents gathered to offer prayers.

A collection of donations was also started to help those affected by the tragedy.

Many Singaporeans would have loved to party the night away.

But now their thoughts are with the tsunami victims and their families.

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Massive aid operation swings into gear Flood of relief creates logjams at airports

Aid trucks loaded with food, medicines and body bags rolled into tsunami-hit areas across Asia and aircraft dropped supplies to cut-off villages as a huge relief operation finally swung into gear today.

But military flights disgorging tonnes of emergency supplies at major Asian airports were creating logjams, threatening to hinder one of the world’s biggest aid operations. A lack of fuel was also holding up relief efforts in worst-hit Aceh province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, near the epicentre of Sunday’s 9.0 magnitude quake that triggered the killer waves.

The humanitarian catastrophe caused by the tsunami that killed more than 125,000 and left millions without the basics to survive, was stretching the world’s ability to respond, said UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

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Singapore Red Cross gets ready to be deployed to Tsunami affected countries

The Singapore Red Cross along with other non-governmental organisations like Mercy Relief are making preparations to send humanitarian supplies, medical personnel and aid workers to assist with the international effort underway in Tsunami affected countries.

The Red Cross has also launched a public appeal here for donations so that aid workers on the ground can have the purchasing power to get what's most urgently required.

Colonel Lim Theam Poh who is Head of the International Services division at the Singapore Red Cross spoke to Howie Lim and first told her the response to the appeal so far.

LTP: Singapore Red Cross is receiving overwhelming response from members of the public for the fund raising drive we initiated two days ago. We are coordinating with other agencies as well to plan out some relief work in the affected countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia and so on.

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7 Singaporeans confirmed dead, 18 still missing in tsunami disaster

SINGAPORE : The government has confirmed the number of Singaporeans killed in the tsunami disaster has risen to seven.

Eighteen other Singaporeans are still missing and 227 are uncontactable.

In Phuket, there are now 144 listed as uncontactable.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singaporeans had to be realistic and realise that out of the many uncontactable, some may not return.

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Family, Friends Scan Internet for Tsunami Victims

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Distraught relatives and friends of those missing after the most catastrophic tsunami on record are increasingly turning to the Internet to search for loved ones.

In Hong Kong and Singapore to Australia, Britain, the United States and Sweden, people are scanning through lists of names of victims and posting bulletins to look for those missing.

"Today I am still searching the hospitals," said James Wong from Hong Kong, as he looked through names and pictures of victims posted on the Internet by hospitals in Phuket.

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Singapore says ASEAN meet soon on tsunami relief

SINGAPORE, Dec 30 (Reuters) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold a meeting as early as next week to coordinate relief and reconstruction efforts in the wake of the devastating tsunami, Singapore said on Thursday.

Two members of the regional grouping - Indonesia and Thailand - are among the countries worst hit by the disaster that has claimed more than 120,000 lives.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he had proposed the meeting to his Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai counterparts on Thursday and obtained their approval.

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