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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Updates Post

Please leave a comment here to provide up-to-date news links or information.

What would be especially helpful are first-hand accounts from the affected areas.
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Blogger shashidhar said :

Three flights carrying relief material leave for Port Blair:

[India News]: Chennai, Dec 31 : Three flights with CISF jawans, defence personnel, doctors and relief materials left here this morning for Port Blair, airport sources said.
Two Alliance Air and the other flight belonging to Indian Airlines, carrying some passengers also, left between 4.30 a.M. And 7.00 a.M, the sources said.

Central Industrial Security Force jawans numbering 40, defence personnel numbering 26 and a dozen doctors were there in the flights, the sources said.

2:12 AM  
Blogger shashidhar said :

ESIC medical teams to go to Tsunami-affected areas

The Employees' State Insurance Corporation will send medical teams including specialists to Tsunami-hit areas of south India and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Each of the medical teams will include specialist doctors in medicine, surgery, orthopaedics and paediatrics, ESIC said in a statement here.

Para-medical staff such as nurses, pharmacists, radiographers and laboratory technicians will also be deployed.

A medical team of about 12 doctors and para-medical staff alongwith medicines and medical equipment is being airlifted to Port Blair for its furthur deployment in badly-hit Car Nicobar Islands, the statement said.

Monks of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha (BSS) are also contributing to the relief operations and distributing food, medicines and other items in Port Blair and other parts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands like Havelock, Neil and Rangad.

BSS had also pledged to construct 500 houses for Tsunami-affected families in Tamil Nadu, a BSS release said here.

Meanwhile, employees of Indiaa Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) contributed one day's salary for the victims

2:14 AM  
Blogger shashidhar said :

Sumatra: no food, no drinking water, no medicine

The suffering in this once-bustling seaside town of 40,000 on Sumatra's west coast is unimaginable.

Five days after the massive earthquake struck beneath the seabed only 60 kilometres south-west of here, most survivors have received no food, drinking water, medicines or outside help.

"Please, help me. Please," begged Yuda Suria, 37, a father of two. "We have had no rice or water for two days," he said. "How can we live?"

Meulaboh is a wasteland.

Up to half the population may be dead. The waves that swept through here on Sunday were eight metres high.

The first earthquake collapsed most buildings. Aftershocks have hit every day since.

Everywhere you see suffering in Meulaboh.

Sisters Sintra, 15, and Nia, 12, and their brother Ferty, 9, sit in shock on a concrete block, all that is left of their home.

Their mother, grandmother and other family members are dead.

Asked what their future holds, they can't answer.

Nearby, soldiers are pulling bodies out of the debris. A small rotting foot protrudes from under pieces of iron.

The stench of death is everywhere. In 30-degree heat, bodies are falling apart.

Some people in the town are so hungry that they have been eating leaves from trees, soldiers said.

Juffizal, 32, said nobody in town has enough to drink because the tsunami contaminated the town's fresh water wells.

"We are thirsty . . . the bottled water has run out," he said.

"I am eating noodles once a day but soon they will run out also."

The Age arrived in Meulaboh yesterday on the first plane to land on the town's badly damaged airstrip. We brought boxes of food.

An Indonesian navy ship carrying food, medicine and supplies also anchored offshore yesterday. But this is only a fraction of what is desperately needed.

"Where is the United Nations?" asked a soldier driving a truck collecting bodies. "Tell the United Nations to come. We need their help."

The Age was among the first small group of journalists to reach the flattened centre of Meulaboh. We were swamped by people begging for help.

"Hungry, hungry," people screamed.

Looking at the piles of debris - some of it two storeys high - it is difficult to believe that Meulaboh can rebuild.

But life has always been tough for the Achinese who were the last to hold off Dutch colonisation in the early 1900s. Some of them have fought Jakarta's rule for decades.

Here men are picking twisted motorcycles from the debris, here a mother hangs out her washing a few metres from a bloated corpse, here a girl stacks pieces of timber. And here a young mother sits under a tree breastfeeding her baby.

For some, the trauma is too great; they stumble along, rambling incoherently.

"I'm a government official. I've lost everything . . . where are my wages, help me," a distressed man keeps saying.

Army captain Danding Rachmat Firdaus said most people from nearby villages were sleeping in forests kilometres away from the coast.

"The tremors continue, not like Sunday, they are only slight, but they are still very scary for the people," he said.

Meulaboh and other towns along Sumatra's west coast had been cut off until yesterday.

Indonesian company ASI Pudjiastuti started shuttling emergency relief with flights by two Cessnas yesterday after German pilot Christian von Stromberg made a daring landing on the debris-strewn Meulaboh runway. He managed to skirt uprooted coconut palms and cracked bitumen. Late yesterday, soldiers helped clear the runway of debris.

The military has struggled to co-ordinate the distribution of aid that has been pouring into Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, since Monday.

2:18 AM  
Blogger shashidhar said :

Misery visits 'Stone Age' islands

At daybreak, a stream of refugees emerged from a narrow jungle path on to the runway of the wrecked air base on Car Nicobar, a remote Indian outpost in the Bay of Bengal.

Through the morning, more and more desperate people struggled in, some with broken limbs, some carrying elderly men and women in hammocks.

"Take me away, take me away from my village," mumbled Dyna Issac, 80, a withered woman suspended in a cloth cradle that her daughters-in-law carried over their shoulders.

The elderly woman, a member of an indigenous tribe, said she lost her sons to the tsunami that lashed India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, an archipelago of 500 bumps in the ocean.

"Our village, Sawai, has been completely swallowed by the sea," said daughter-in-law Clara Issac, as they approached Indian officials to beg for help.

Car Nicobar is the gateway to more remote parts of a group of islands that spread out along hundreds of square kilometres. The islands stood directly in the way of the waves that were triggered by the earthquake more than 700 kilometres to the south-east.

The sea swept more than 1.5 kilometres inland in some places, stripping away undergrowth and felling trees. Villagers were carried off by the waves and timber houses and cement buildings along the shore were smashed.

Because the islands are so remote, the extent of the devastation is only now becoming known. Officials say at least 3000 people have died. Some unconfirmed estimates put the toll as high as 10,000 out of 350,000 inhabitants.

Located about 1400 kilometres east of the Indian mainland, the islands have been home to indigenous tribes for thousands of years.

The Indian air force also uses the Car Nicobar base as a listening post to monitor China and track vessels on cargo and oil shipment routes. The base's headquarters and housing were flattened by the waves and 102 military personnel were killed.

The islanders who stumbled out of the jungle on Wednesday are camping out in the buildings that remain. So far, 2500 have been flown from the base to the islands' main commercial centre and administrative capital, Port Blair. But water supplies have been cut there, forcing people to rely on water supplied in buckets.

The islands' ferry system has been disrupted, and the military command is struggling to distribute food, water and medicine.

The islands have been hit daily by aftershocks.

So far, search teams have been unable to reach the areas that are farthest away.

Beyond the seashore and the tourist sites, the islands are home to the tribes. Several are traditional hunter-gatherer communities, using bows and arrows to kill wild pigs and harpoons to spear turtles.

The five tribes, which total only 800 people, exist in designated reserves set up to protect traditions that have persisted since the Stone Age.

The islands' Lieutenant-Governor, Ram Kapse, who completed a three-day boat tour of the worst-affected areas, said almost all the tribes had been contacted.

Many, like the Great Andamanese, who live on Great Andaman Island and number only 49, took refuge in the dense rainforest that covers much of the archipelago, he said.

Australian Wayne Harrigan, 46, who was staying on Little Andaman, said the Onge, of whom only 98 survive, had also found refuge.

"Several people from our camp went to check on them, and they had clearly survived, even though Dugan Creek, where most of them live, was devastated," he said. "They must have taken shelter inland."

Of the other tribes, the Shompen, thought to number 13, have yet to be contacted.

They live in hilly areas but one official at the air base said: "We don't know whether the Shompens are dead or alive . . . All our efforts to trace them have failed."

The Jarawa, a hunter-gatherer tribe nearly wiped out by an outbreak of measles in 1999, have reported in through intermediaries.

A ship was on its way to the most hostile of the tribes, the 300-strong Sentinelese, who live on North Sentinel Island and are known for firing arrows at anyone trying to approach them.

- Washington Post, with Telegraph

2:20 AM  
Blogger Ben Padnos said :

We've set up a website that makes it even easier for people to generate funds for the tsunami relief effort. Please check out http://www.ReliefSearch.org.

Very simply, when users click on search results generated from ReliefSearch.org, the site earns revenues on a pay-per-click basis. All click revenues generated from these searches will help fund the victims of the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster. People can continue performing searches on the web as they normally would, only proceeds from their activities on ReliefSearch.org will help the cause. So, we're encouraging users to use the ReliefSearch.org search engine instead of Google or Yahoo!

Our goal is 1 million searches in the next 30 days. Anything you can do to help spread the word about ReliefSearch.org will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much for your help!

3:25 AM  
Blogger Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka said :

SRI LANKA'S URGENT NEEDS

The tsunami has devastated Sri Lanka - also affected are Sri Lankans with disabilities.

Ten of thousands of Sri Lankans have died and thousands more will die through disease - Sri Lanka urgently needs doctors and medicine from overseas to cope with outbreaks of typhoid, dysentery, cholera.

The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka are not collecting money ourselves but we are working with partners all over the world to reach out to all Sri Lankans including the disability community who have been affected so badly by this deadly tsunami which struck the island on the 26th of December 2004 and has caused so much devastation.

How you can help in London:

Sri Lanka urgently needs:

Tents, blankets,linen, clothing.
Food - pre-cooked or ready to eat meal packs
Water purification tablets - approximately 2 million
Wheat, flour, pulses, rice.
Drugs: paracetamol, antibiotics, dressing, suture material, disposable syringes
Intravenous infusions - saline and dextrose.
Portable generators.
Disabled people will need wheelchairs.
The Sri Lanka High Commission in London have appealed for donations of the above and donors can take these items to the Sri Lanka High Commission at 13 Hyde Park Gardens, London W2 2LU. Those who wish to contribute may contact Mr.Y.G.Amaradasa (Administration) of the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. He could be contacted on the telephone: 020 7262 6721/020 7262 1841 extension 225, Fax: 020 7262 7970 and on e-mail: mail@slhc.globalnet.co.uk

With regard to the rapid conveyance of drugs and items such as water purification tablets and intravenous infusions, the Sri Lanka High Commission are exploring the possibility of facilitating airlifting these items through SriLankan Airlines to Colombo but please inform the Sri Lanka High Commission the full details of these drugs before and during delivery.

You can send donations to the Rotary Club of Colombo - the Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka are working in partnership with the Rotary Club, a well respected international organisation who have teams working in the diaster areas.

The Rotary Club of Colombo Regency, plans to implement the relief effort in phases in order for it to be effective.

The immediate need is for water and dry food items like biscuits, and canned fish, as displaced people are unable to cook meals just yet. In addition, basic medicines and clothing are also essential.

The second phase in a few days will be to provide dry rations, milk powder etc. as hopefully by that time people would have been moved into refugee camps.

The third phase (5 to 7 days) would be to conduct health camps to prevent/treat any outbreak in disease caused by polluted water and lack of proper sanitation etc at the refugee camps.

In the longer term, rebuilding of life and property would take an enormous effort and would need worldwide help.

If you wish to contribute by way of any items listed above or by cash or kind, please write into this site or phone/email any one of the persons below:
Mario Perumal +94 777 371204, mario@vigilant-security.com
Chamila Wicramasinghe +94 777 364618, chamila_w@yahoo.com
Shantha Warnakulasuriya +94 777 355288, shanthaw_midaya@sysnet.lk
Bary Jaleel on +94 777 300239, mcabdul@slt.lk
Altaf Ismail +94 777 741855, altaf96@slt.lk

Tharanga Gunaratne +94 777 389075, tkg_lk@yahoo.com

You can send cash contributions in the form of Cheques/Drafts/Money Orders as per the details given below:
Beneficiary - "Rotary Club of Colombo Regency"
Account No: 001-003771-002
Bank Name : HSBC
Postal Address : 24 Sir Baron Jayatilleke Mw, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka
SWIFT Address : HSBCLKLX

For items sent from overseas, The Rotary Club have arranged for duty waivers. Please make sure that you specify the beneficiary as the "Rotary Club of Colombo Regency", c/o Bary Jaleel, 15 Cambridge Place, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka.

However, send an email The Rotary Club with your full name, contact details and your contribution amounts and modes, so that they could keep a track. You can also log onto http://www.lankafood.com/ and select the items you would like to sponsor, and pay for on line. Details of items needed and their rates will be published on this site.

Sri Lanka desperately needs help. They say the island needs 1 billion pounds to cope with this terrible disaster. Whole communities have been wiped out. Schools and homes have been devastated and scores of little Sri Lankans have perished. Please support Sri Lanka in her hour of need.


Ivan Corea WRC FRSA
Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka
http://members.tripod.com/autism_srilanka
autismsrilanka@hotmail.com

5:14 AM  
Blogger travelover said :

I've read this on Thorn tree branch of the Lonely Planet website. It seems to be an important report:

Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 12:13:05 +0600

Subject: Fw: Emergency: the REAL situation - (pls take some time off to read & help)

Hello All,
This is just to let everyone know the REAL situation prevalent in the South. I, along with another journalist and photographer went down to Matara, Galle and other outlying towns yesterday. I just got back a
few hours ago and am heading back down there at 2pm local time today (28th).

The Television Media (esp STATE RUN TV) is painting a picture a pretty picture of aid being sent and everything being alright. Yesterday, more than 36 hours after the first waves hit the south, there was
still NO aid in EITHER Galle or Matara. That means there was nothing.
Zilch.

In Galle at the Cathedral, there were close to 700 people. The Father there said that locals had provided aid. No government stuff had come at all. How odd. There were infants who did not have formula milk.
Yet the Government had 'mobilized' every unit under the sun. Hmmm..

Now with all the aid being sent from here, my questions is WHERE is all that stuff going? So just be careful. My advice is not to send aid through the State. Villagers near Kamburupitiya (inland from Matara) said that the Police were pilfering stuff. My advice is to send aid through Churches, Temples or other religious institutions, where corruption will be a lot less.

Secondly, despite the lovely picture of 'humanity being helped' that the State is painting, the south (and I believe the east, we have a correspondent there who said it's worse off in fact) is very very badly hit.

In Matara, there were not enough police officers to transfer bodies to the graves. There were no officers to record the deaths. The hospitals were barely functional. It is not fun. And the Government, for the
last 36 hours has done JACK. I'm sorry Mr. Prime Minister, but your seat is suffering the most. What are you doing? There are (or WERE last evening) 5000 bodies in the Hambantota town. Not moved. 36 hours
after the wave. What is the Government doing?

What about the UN? The ICRC? With all due respect to both organizations, their presence was not seen or heard in any of the place we went to. How long does it take a prominent international aid organization to get down to a danger area? One and a half days? Two?
How long?

So my plea to you is, please, please help. Sri Lanka needs you. We have never seen destruction like this. Those of you who have already responded, thanks. To those of you who are still thinking of helping
please do so. Just get in touch with a religious organization and send the stuff. Do not trust the state.

If you are going down there, go in groups. People are looting very badly. Don't travel after dark. If you want to help out here there are areas where volunteers are wanted very badly - Mattakuliya, Ratmalana etc.
Find out and go. Again, try and work with private / aid / religious organizations. Sorry GOSL but you really dropped the ball
this time. Don't trust them.

For those of you who were out clubbing Sunday night, here's a thought. Those clubs could have been hit first, if the wave came further up the coast. So please, if you want to party, go ahead. But just put your Sri Lankaness aside.

It's time to come together. It's time to do something. There is a lot of TALK going around. Lets see how many of us can do something.

Thanks, and God Bless you all,
Mahangu


Mahangu Weerasinghe,
Freelance Journalist,
The Sunday Times News Desk,
Colombo,
Sri Lanka.

+94 0112 328889
+94 0112 331276

+94 0773 018479 (Mobile)

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Anonymous hurt said :

Does anyone have any idea on what happened to the Air Force Station people in Carnicobar? Have they been satisfactorily compensated? Where are the survivors? How is their condition? Any idea?

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