Update [2005-1-4 13:12:57 by Armando]: Thousands At Risk
U.N. relief officials warned Monday that tens of thousands of people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in South Asia had not received help and that some were at risk of dying because ruined roads and bad communications were preventing the distribution of supplies. International relief groups have delivered only one-eighth of the 400,000 tons of food flown and trucked into the Indonesia city of Banda Aceh by the U.N. World Food Program, said Michael Elmquist, chief of the U.N. office coordinating the rescue effort in the country. He said the delivery of lifesaving food and medicine has been slowed by impassable highways, severed telecommunications and airports unable to accommodate enough relief flights.
At the United Nations, Jan Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said Monday that it was impossible to estimate how many people had not received emergency aid since the Dec. 26 earthquake that generated the tsunami off the northern coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island.
"My heart goes out to those along the Sumatra coast, because we're not even there, and those were the hardest hit," Egeland said. "Are they tens of thousands, are they hundreds of thousands that we're not reaching? I don't even know."
Egeland estimated that fatalities from the catastrophe now exceeded 150,000. The official death count is about 139,000, including more than 94,000 in Indonesia and 30,000 in Sri Lanka, the island nation off the southern tip of India. The tsunami killed people in coastal areas in nine other countries around the Indian Ocean. Throughout the region, about 500,000 people may have been seriously injured and millions left homeless, U.N. officials said.
"The death toll will grow exponentially on the western coast of Sumatra," Egeland said at a news conference.
Update [2004-12-30 11:4:1 by Armando]: Deathtoll Rises To 114,000
The death toll from last weekend's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe rose to more than 114,000 on Thursday as Indonesia uncovered more and more dead from ravaged Sumatra island, where pilots dropped food to remote villages still unreachable by rescue workers. A false alarm that new killer waves were about to hit sparked panic in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The increase came after Indonesia reported nearly 28,000 newly confirmed dead in Sumatra, which was closest to the epicenter of last weekend's massive earthquake and was overwhelmed by the tsunami that followed. Some 60 percent of Banda Aceh, the main city in northern Sumatra was destroyed, the U.N. children's agency estimated, and 115 miles of the island's northwest coast — lined with villages — was inundated.
Indonesia, with around 80,000 dead, was the worst hit, followed by Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. The total across 12 nations in southern Asia and East Africa was likely to rise, with thousands still missing and fears that disease could bring a new wave of deaths.
Let's heed Markos' call, let's help:
Here are some links:
American Red Cross International Response Fund
AmeriCares South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund
Direct Relief International International Assistance Fund
Médecins Sans Frontières International Tsunami Emergency Appeal
Oxfam Asian Earthquake & Tsunami Fund
Sarvodaya Relief Fund for Tsunami Tragedy
UNICEF South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts
My personal favorite, and the beneficiary of my donation, is Medicins Sans Frontieres, but they're all good.