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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Singapore tourists recount narrow escape from tsunami



SINGAPORE: Two Singaporeans narrowly missed the tsunami which wiped out most of Phuket's pristine beaches.

The pair had returned to the Thai attraction for the second time in December, after a bout of food poisoning marred their earlier trip.

24-year-old Jason Chew and his cousin Foo Chuan Kai could have perished if they had reached the beach 10 minutes earlier.

They heard two loud sounds on their way there.

Mr Chew, pointing at images on TV, said: "We were around here, we were going to cross the road towards the beach area where we saw people running down, we saw buses, vehicles reversing real quickly, like 60 to 70 km per hour, real fast. Then we saw water flowing down."

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Parkway Group to send 28 volunteers to tsunami-hit Sri Lanka

Parkway Group Healthcare, one of Singapore's largest private healthcare groups, will send 28 volunteers to Sri Lanka to render medical aid.

The team will leave on Sunday night.

The team members are prepared to face challenges in one of the hardest-hit tsunami disaster zones.

The team of doctors, nurses and support staff from Parkway's three hospitals volunteered after they saw the images on TV of the disaster, and feel that Sri Lanka is still under-supported in terms of help.

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More donations pour in for tsunami victims



SINGAPORE : More donations have poured in from major corporations towards relief-efforts for the earthquake and tsunami victims.

Donating to the Singapore Red Cross Fund are staff and drivers of ComfortDelGro Group with $50,000.

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Mobile phone text messagers raising millions for tsunami victims



ROME : Italian mobile phone users were reported on Thursday to have donated more than 11 million euros (15 million dollars) for the victims of the Asian tsunamis through a text messaging arrangement that seemed to be setting a trend in other countries.

The Milan daily Corriere della Sera said Italians could contribute one euro to tsunami disaster relief every time they send a text message to a special number, thanks to a scheme sponsored by the country's four mobile phone companies and its main television channels.

Organisers of Germany's biggest New Year's Eve party, to be held Friday at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, said party-goers could make donations to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) by sending a text message to a special number.

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Tiger Cup semi-final match put off to honour tsunami victims



KUALA LUMPUR: The second leg of the Tiger Cup semi-final between Malaysia and Indonesia has been postponed after the weekend's deadly Asian tsunami, Asean Football Federation (AFF) officials said.

Malaysia and Indonesia, both hit by the devastating tidal waves that swept the Indian Ocean on Sunday, had been scheduled to meet in Kuala Lumpur on New Year's Day.

However, the match will now be played 48 hours later, on Monday, as a mark of respect for the victims following a plea from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The tsunami, triggered by a huge underwater earthquake off Indonesia, killed more than 100,000 people.

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Singapore dispatches medics, helicopters



Singapore threw relief operations into high gear for tsunami-hit parts of Asia on Thursday, as this wealthy, highly developed city-state declared its support for a regional early warning system.
Singapore sent military medics and supplies in three C-130 transport planes for wave-hit parts of Indonesia - part of a deployment that will soon see Singaporean service personnel committed to Indonesia's Sumatra island.

Singapore's air force also sent two Super Puma helicopters Thursday morning to Sumatra, following two Chinook helicopters sent there Wednesday. It also sent for more choppers to Thailand.

More forces are being sent to Thailand's west coast.

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7 S'poreans dead, 18 missing, 208 uncontactable in tsunami disaster

The Singapore authorities have issued the daily update of the aftermath of Sunday's earthquake and tsunami.

There are 7 Singaporeans dead and 18 missing.

208 Singaporeans are uncontactable, down from Thursday's figure of 227.

The 7 deaths are: 5 in Phuket, one in Sri Lanka and one in India.

The Foreign Ministry is sending more officers to join its consular teams in tsunami-hit areas to locate missing or uncontactable Singaporeans and to offer assistance to those who are stranded.

Back in Singapore, the contact centre at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has been operational as of Thursday

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Singapore opens air, naval bases for relief supplies to Indonesia

SINGAPORE, Dec. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Singapore Friday opened up its air and naval bases to countries that want to send relief supplies into Indonesia, which is severely hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on December 26 this year.

Announcing this at a press briefing on Friday, Singapore's Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean said that the island state's decision came after airport facilities at Banda Aceh and Medan were currently overstretched, and countries wishing to send their relief supplies could drop off the supplies in Singapore before they are shipped on for distribution in the neighboring country.

Singapore would keep in touch with representatives of the foreign countries that want to use the facilities here to coordinate the shipment of the relief supplies, he added.

Singapore, which has joint hands with the international community in assisting affected countries, also sent on Friday a landing ship tank with nearly 500 people for West Sumatra to help out with the relief efforts there.

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Mercy Relief collects about $300,000 for tsunami victims

Mercy Relief has raised about $300,000 in cash so far for the tsunami victims.

This is in addition to the food aid which it will start sending to Sri Lanka from Friday.

More than $18,000 was collected at one centre over an eight-hour period on Friday.

It was a slow start for donations coming in through Mercy Relief's Centre at the Gallery Hotel, but it could have been due to the weather.

Donations started trickling in as people came with cash, medicine and clothes, but things picked up.

"As long as we can bring some relief to people who receives it."

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American survivors recall tsunami disaster



Thousands of Americans were caught in the Asian tsunami devastation, and many have been recounting their ordeals in interviews and in e-mails home this week. Fourteen Americans died in the disaster, and the number is sure to rise as authorities get a clearer picture of the devastation.

For Patrick Green, the terrifying wave came in a trickle.

He and friend Becky Johnson were on a hotel elevator, on their way to the beach, where they planned to get one last hour of Thai sun before heading to the airport.

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