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Sunday, January 09, 2005

SCDF to sound alert through Public Warning System to mark minute of silence

SINGAPORE : A minute of silence will be observed throughout Singapore on the Sunday January 9 at about 6 pm, at the end of the Tsunami Disaster Memorial Service.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force will sound an alert through its Public Warning System to mark the start of the observance.

Members of the public are encouraged to join in the observance.

Another alert will be sounded to signal the end of the one-minute silence.

MediaCorp's TV and Radio platforms will carry 'live' broadcasts of Sunday's memorial service for the victims of Asia's tsunami tragedy.

Read more here

Impressions of Singapore's response to the tsunami relief efforts

Singapore, along with several other countries, has been significantly involved in helping tsunami victims in the region, particularly in Indonesia’s West Sumatra and Aceh provinces.

The manner in which Singapore has mobilized aid to the affected areas has impressed several of its citizens and one of them is Singaporean author Catherine Lim.

Ms Lim recently wrote a newspaper article about her reaction to Singapore’s relief efforts and shares with Yvonne Gomez her views on why she has been so impressed.

CL: Well, I’d been following very closely from Day One, and I suspect that my being impressed has a special flavour to it. We have always associated the government with efficiency, competence, meticulous attention and planning and so on. On its own, I suppose it is not totally admirable, but combined with these human qualities that I saw emerging, I found that it was the perfect blend. I’d never seen this perfect, sensitive blend of sheer competence and these soft human qualities that we all appreciate.

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ICRC needs another RM152m

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appealing for an additional US$40mil (RM152mil) to provide humanitarian aid to tsunami survivors in Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the next six months.

“The appeal is for US$23mil (RM87.4mil) for 300,000 people in Aceh, and for US$17mil (RM64.6mil) for about 200,000 people in Sri Lanka,” said ICRC communications officer here Azrul Mohd Khalib.

“We hope to provide some 60,000 families (300,000 people) in Aceh with essential household kits and shelter materials, comprising a tarpaulin, blankets, sheets, sleeping mats, lantern, towel, jerry can, soap and kitchen sets.

“We will also be setting up structures to distribute safe drinking water to about 60,000 families, and the Norwegian Red Cross will set up a field hospital in Banda Aceh.

“In Sri Lanka, we hope to provide 30,000 families (200,000 people) with these essential household kits. We will continue to send mobile or fixed health teams to the north and east, and provide hospitals there with medical supplies.”

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Asian tourism industry weathers tsunami disaster

SINGAPORE : Thailand and Sri Lanka have been scarred but tourism in Asia remains largely unhurt by the tsunami disaster despite the massive devastation of coastal areas, industry experts and operators said.

Booking cancellations have had the most impact on coastal areas of southwest Thailand whose idyllic beaches were ravaged by quake-generated waves that left over 5,000 people dead, half of them western holidaymakers.

Since 2001, the region's travel sector has weathered the fallout from international extremist violence, the deadly SARS virus and the bird flu health scare, and it is again confident of overcoming last month's calamity.

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VIP visits slowing tsunami aid deliveries

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Relief workers say a flood of foreign dignitaries is clogging the airport in Indonesia's Aceh province and slowing the distribution of aid to tsunami victims.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell were among those who stopped in Banda Aceh this week.

Their heavy security temporarily shut down the city's only airport and prevented incoming aid planes from landing.

Officials say these VIP visits help secure foreign aid for the region.

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Tsunami toll surpasses 150,000 confirmed dead

The death toll from the tsunami has surpassed 150,000, two weeks after killer waves engulfed coastlines around the Indian Ocean and left hundreds of thousands homeless and hungry.

The toll of those missing also rose by nearly 5,000 in Sri Lanka and 10,000 in Indonesia.

"First the people tried to find them among the dead, then went around the hospitals. Now they are coming to us," said K.G. Wijesiri at Sri Lanka's National Disaster Management Center.

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Are we ready for a tsunami?

(Editor's Note: Published on page A14 of the January 9, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A TSUNAMI (pronounced soo-NAH-mee) is rare but destructive. The tsunami spawned by a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26 killed more than 150,000 people in 12 countries in South and Southeast Asia and on the east coast of Africa.

World leaders, who gathered in Jakarta on Jan. 6 to figure out the best way to speed up aid to victims, agreed that a tsunami warning system like the one in place in the Pacific should be established in the Indian Ocean as quickly as possible. "It is proven that 10 minutes advance warning can save hundreds of lives." Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said.

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Don’t uproot tsunami generation, they’ve lost everything

LONDON, JANUARY 8: People are calling them the Tsunami Generation. It is impossible in the chaos to list those who have been orphaned, those who have been separated from their loved ones. But the current estimate is that 30,000 children lost both parents to the killer waves.

People around the world have offered their homes, but a debate has broken out over the merits of international adoption.

‘‘It’s important for a child to be in their country of origin — however great the devastation — to be with their culture, their language, and their family,” says Lucy Handford, a spokesman for the British Association for Adoption

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Tsunami-hit tribe celebrates baby

INDIAN officials celebrated a rare piece of good news in the tsunami-hit Andaman and Nicobar islands today - the birth of a baby girl to a teenage mother from a threatened "Stone Age" tribe.

Less than 100 of the hunter-gatherer Onge tribe remain, and concerns for the tribe's welfare have grown in the wake of the December 26 disaster.

"The baby is good news, we want the population to increase," said K C Ghoshal, assistant commissioner in the government's tribal welfare department in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

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