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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Body of Land Rover convoy leader to be brought back on Monday

SINGAPORE : The body of Richard Fong, leader of a Land Rover relief mission to tsunami-hit Thailand, will be brought back to Singapore on Monday.

He was killed in a road accident along the North-South Expressway in Kedah on Saturday, when his Land Rover swerved suddenly and flipped a few times before crashing to a stop.

Mr Fong was leading a convoy of 32 cars and over 60 people to Krabi to deliver bottled water, tents, food and blankets to tsunami-stricken victims.

The supplies were donated by the Singapore Rotary Club and ExxonMobil, among others.

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Singapore man in tsunami aid convoy dies after car crashes

Singapore, Jan. 2 (AP): A Singapore man who was driving a Land Rover to Thailand with aid for survivors of last Sunday's tsunami was killed when his vehicle flipped over, a report said today.

Richard Wong, 45, died yesterday in a Malaysian ambulance shortly after his vehicle crashed on Malaysia's North-South Highway, 60 km south of the Thai border, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

"He gave his life to help victims of the tsunami," said Michael Lee, Wong's brother-in-law, according to the report.

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Singapore says 9 dead, 13 missing, 81 uncontactable after tsunami disaster

SINGAPORE : Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry says 81 Singaporeans remain uncontactable in the tsunami-affected areas as at 5 pm on Sunday.

This is a significant drop from the 157 who were listed as uncontactable on Saturday.

The death toll remains at nine, while the number of Singaporeans listed as missing has decreased to 13.

All 13 of the missing are from Thailand.

As for those who are uncontactable, 50 are supposed to be in Thailand, seven in India, one in Malaysia, two in Bangladesh, one in Myanmar, 12 in Sri Lanka, seven in Indonesia, one in the Maldives.

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Catholic churches across Singapore collecting donations for tsunami victims

SINGAPORE : Catholic churches across Singapore have been collecting donations to help the tsunami victims.

This follows an urgent request from the Archbishop of Singapore, Nicholas Chia, for all parishes in Singapore to do so at masses this weekend.

The donations will be forwarded by the Archdiocese through the relevant authorities.

At the Church of the Holy Spirit in Upper Thomson, church-goers opened up their wallets generously.

By the end of Sunday, the church had collected S$52,000 at five masses held over the weekend. - CNA

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Tourists help out locals in tsunami-hit Phuket

SINGAPORE : It has been a week since the tsunamis ravaged Asia, leaving a trail of death and destruction.

While hundreds of tourists made a beeline for Phuket airport for a flight home, some chose to stick with their travel plans and stayed on as a mark of solidarity with the victims and Thai community.

Paula Rawlins and her husband, who were holidaying in Phuket, showed Channel NewsAsia some of the 400 pictures they had taken during their trip.

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Rain hampers tsunami aid effort

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - U.S. Navy helicopters, unable to land in flooded, tsunami-ravaged Indonesian villages, have dropped aid to desperate crowds clamouring for the life-saving parcels.

Seven days after the massive undersea quake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered giant waves across the Indian Ocean, relief pledges edged towards $2 billion (1 billion pounds) and the death toll of nearly 127,000 was expected to rise.

Flash floods cut off aid to Sri Lankan villages and refugee camps on Sunday, forcing residents to flee and increasing the threat of contagious disease -- a potential disaster haunting millions of displaced survivors along the devastated ocean rim.

"The carnage is of a scale that defies comprehension," said President George W. Bush in his weekly radio address.

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Rain drenches tsunami victims amid strong aftershocks

Banda Aceh, Indonesia — After the devastation wreaked by water from the seas, a deluge from the skies deepened the misery for tsunami-stricken survivors shivering in relief centres Saturday and triggered flash floods in Sri Lanka that sent residents fleeing once again.

With the death toll passing 123,000, the world's aid efforts went into high gear in ways big and small — from elephant convoys in Thailand to a $500-million (U.S.) aid pledge from Japan that took the world total beyond $1-billion.

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Annan: Heading to Tsunami Donor's Conf.

Jan. 1, 2005 — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan personally will attend a high-level Jan. 6 conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, to coordinate donation pledges in the relief effort for the deadly tsunamis in South Asia, which he called "the largest disaster we have had to deal with."

Annan made the comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that will air Sunday, Jan. 2 on "This Week."

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Tsunami aid grows but survivors face wait

Aid pledges for Asia's tsunami victims has topped $US1.86 billion ($A2.38 bn) but the United Nations has warned it would take weeks for help to reach many survivors and that the death toll would likely rise to 150,000.

In a massive boost to the relief effort, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged $US500 million in grant aid for the countries badly affected by the disaster.

The pledge makes Japan the largest single donor to the victims of the disaster.

In Indonesia, which was worst hit by the disaster, US Navy helicopters bringing emergency rations were greeted by desperately communities needing food in Aceh as the President ordered aid to be expedited to isolated areas.

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India to get tsunami warning

New Delhi - India plans to install a deep-sea warning system to provide alerts of possible tsunamis, says a report on the Science and Development Network website.

India currently has 20 deep-sea buoys with sensors in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. But they are not equipped with the pressure sensors needed for advance warning of giant tsunamis.

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7 S'poreans dead, 17 missing, 157 uncontactable in tsunami disaster: MFA

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man previously reported as "missing" in Thailand has actually returned home safely, says the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

His family had said he had been swept away by the tidal waves in Phuket.

But the man was actually not in Phuket.

The status of Singaporeans in the areas affected by the tsunami is as follows: 7 dead, 17 missing, 157 uncontactable.

At its daily media briefing on Saturday, the MFA also said Singapore's rescue and medical teams in Thailand and Indonesia were making progress.

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Singapore to send more forensic teams to tsunami-hit areas

SINGAPORE: Singapore will offer more medical relief teams to the tsunami-hit areas in the next few months.

More forensic teams will go to disaster-hit areas, says Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan, while Singapore is also offering its medical services to all victims in the region.

Patients from Aceh and Phuket are already being treated in Singapore.

Singapore's hospitals, both public and private, are standing by to receive more victims.

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Relatives, friends grieve for tsunami victim Stephanie Ong

SINGAPORE: Residents of Tanjong Rhu are grieving for Stephanie Ong, the mother of 3-year-old Wei En who miraculously survived the tsunamis which hit the Phi Phi island.

Stephanie, 42, was holidaying with her family and colleagues on the Thai island when the tsunamis struck on Boxing Day.

Many turned up for her wake at Block 5A, Jalan Batu on Saturday.

They also offered help to the grieving family.

Stephanie's husband, Mr Tony Tan, was spared the disaster as he had gone out for a dive trip at sea.

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