January 2005
America;1/17/2005, Vol. 192 Issue 2, p3
The article discusses the tsunami disaster in South Asia. It struck without warning on working families in poor fishing villages and on vacationing tourists in upscale resorts. The tsunami, caused by an earthquake 155 miles southeast of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital of Sumatra, killed more than 150,000 people and left millions homeless along thousands of miles of coastline in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma and Africa. The international response has been encouraging. In measuring the U.S. response, the American public should make sure that these are new funds and not just money shifted away from less visible development needs to today's catastrophe. In every disaster there are heroes--the hotel manager who sacrificed his life trying to save the grandchild of a guest, the pilot who landed his private plane on an airstrip his government said was unusable, the villagers who struggled to get their boats repaired and back at sea to support their families. Catholic Relief Services, Caritas, Oxfam, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders mobilized to bring fresh water and medical supplies to the devastated areas. Fresh water was the highest priority since drinking polluted water can cause disease and more deaths. As tragic as this disaster is, the numbers killed in one day can be easily matched and exceeded by the numbers killed in any year all over the world through hunger and preventable diseases.


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