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Monday, 31 January, 2005

WHO: Risk of Disease Still High in Indonesia's Aceh

Tsunami-stricken Indonesia has escaped major disease outbreaks so far but hundreds of thousands of people are at high risk due to poor conditions in refugee camps, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Health officials have feared epidemics since the Dec. 26 disaster that may have killed 230,000 people in Aceh province and left hundreds of thousands homeless, forcing them to live in makeshift outdoor camps with poor sanitation.

"It's too soon to declare any sort of victory, there's still plenty of threat and we have to be careful because the situation is still precarious," said Bob Dietz, the WHO spokesman in Aceh.

United Nations officials credited a swift response to the tsunami disaster with preventing epidemics that some feared could cause a second wave of death after the tsunami, in which nearly 300,000 people died or disappeared around the Indian Ocean region.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News
Read the WHO's latest Situation Report

Sunday, 30 January, 2005

A First Person account of his volunteer efforts in Sri Lanka

From our comments:

A group of us have been organizing relief work for Sri Lanka, providing scientific information (including cited in Wiki) at http://www.recoverlanka.net & http://www.geolanka.net

I have just returned from affected areas in Sri Lanka and you shall find details of this at
http://lareef.blogspot.com. Having seen, the importance of direct assistance to those who were affected and neglected, I can recommend several grass roots groups to receive funds for specific projects - see http://lareef.blogspot.com for details of the groups - we shall arrange to have all funds disbursed directly for relief or to support relief.

Asian American Arts Fundraiser (San Francisco, 2/3/05)

APA Artists 4 Tsunami Relief

APA Artists unite to raise funds for tsunami relief. Come out for a night of music and words and join our efforts to raise funds for tsunami relief.

Locus Arts @ Galeria de la Raza
2857 24th St. @ Bryant
San Francisco

Suggested Donation:
$10 and up (as much as you want!)

All proceeds benefit tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Co-presented by Locus, EKTA, Galeria De La Raza, Dhamaal, Kearny Street Workshop, Bindlestiff Studio, Asian American Theater Company, manja.org, Asian Improv aRts, Asia Society Northern California, and NAATA.

More info at



pakistani folk music

spokenword performance

hindustani classical music-
sarod and tabla

orchestral pop ensemble

urban rock soul



We are working with the Global Greengrants' Funds to disburse all funds collected directly to the following community-based groups in the two hardest hit areas:

WALHI – Indonesian Forum for Environment (Indonesia)
KSKBA - Solidarity Coalition for Humane Disaster Relief (Indonesia)
Saviya Development Foundation (Sri Lanka)

Global Greengrants' Fund is a U.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and will match the first $25,000 donated to this special relief effort. 100 percent of Tsunami Fund donations will be sent to these relief efforts. http://www.greengrants.org


Please consider making a contribution even if you cannot attend!
Click below for more info:

Note: Charitable donations made by January 31, 2005 to charities providing aid to tsunami victims can be taken as tax deductions on your 2004 tax return.


For further info, please visit

Update from Pune: 30th January

Maitri's Report on Rehabilitation Work Undertaken

Taking people back to sea: The team based in Chennai has realised that the critical need for Tsunami victims is to rehabilitate them by consolidating their livelihoods systems. The priority therefore is to repair boats and engines, provide basic food support to some of the needy communities. MAITRI therefore calls this as the campaign of "Taking People Back to Sea".

Yesterday (as reported by Shirish Joshi) MAITRI finished repairing 18 engines and 25 boats in the village Vairakuppum. MAITRI volunteers will continue doing this work in two other villages in next couple of days, with the help of local mechanics who have long experience in this type of work. These boats are now ready to sail. One social worker having the experience of working after Latur Earthquake and is now a volunteer, is organising community meetings in Vairakuppum and Koraikuppum.

MAITRI's medical team is continuing its visits to three / four villages every day. These villages are mainly from Kanchipurum District.

Around 10th February, MAITRI will officially hand over the repaired boats to fisherworkers. Those volunteers who are inclined to visit them and talk to them around this time, should contact MAITRI immediately at jayuanil@vsnl.net

MAITRI's programme of a photo-exhibition and sharing of volunteers' experiences was organized in Pune on 26th January. It turned out to be very interactive and educating. One theme that emerged was the need to build the aspect of 'preparedness' within the MAITRI volunteers and develop further capacity of MAITRI volunteers to respond to any such emergency.

For any information on the above, you can also contact vmoorthy@rediffmail.com

Update from Pune: 30th January

A New Team of Young Postgraduate Student Volunteers Moves to TN

A team of 11 students from Pune and a young lady doctor from Bangalore have reached Kovalam via Madras on 28th January for rehabilitation work. They are to work with AID India in the relief camp upto 5th February. The team comprises of ten postgraduate students from Karve Institute of Social Service, Pune and one from Indira School of Communication, Pune. This is one effort that can be truly called an'individuals'initiative as these enthusiasts are not enlisted by any organisation but for their sheer keenness have been linked up by a relief coordinator with NGO's in Pune and Madras to facilitate their orientation,travel and much required mission. The doctor in question has also been linked up with this team through e-mail and is now with them to provide her voluntary services. Feedback on the team's work would be put up here for the benefit of readers.

Saturday, 29 January, 2005

UK tsunami appeal auction

From Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com):

UK-based magazine What Digital Camera has joined forces with some of the top digital camera and equipment manufactures to run an online auction in support of the tsunami appeal. Simply visit www.whatdigitalcamera.com/auction before midnight on February 11th to place your bid for some great kit, at some great prices. Bid items include the award-winning Nikon D70, which has a starting bid of just £450 (approx $700) and the Pentax *ist D which has a starting bid of £500 (approx $778). Other items include a selection of software, printers and scanners all with a starting bid of half the RRP. *NB: Non-UK bidders may be subject to local taxes.

Tsunami Warning Centers to Be Created

Delegates at a conference in Thailand decided Saturday to create several regional tsunami warning centers around southern Asia that would protect the area from killer waves, a U.N. official said.

The two-day meeting at tsunami-battered Phuket island had considered a Thai proposal to make a Bangkok-based disaster prevention center the hub of the Indian Ocean region but chose to have several centers after other nations objected.

"There will not be one regional center," said Margareta Wahlstrom, special envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. She added that there are "a number of institutions" around the Indian Ocean that could serve as smaller regional centers.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News

SMILE Foundation to support physically handicapped

SMILE Foundation, Delhi, a registered Trust, is a development support agency without any religious, political affiliations. It works to promote child education and their general well being for their holistic development- focusing on children from impoverished and neglected strata of our populace.

As an immediate intervention support to Tsunami victims, Smile proposes to focus on physically handicapped people having lost their aids and appliances. It intends to provide the same to the suffering people.

Smile therefore appeals to the NGOs, including those working in areas of disabilities, to get in touch with us with details of such identified people, their location (residence),kind and number of ids and appliances required and estimated cost, at the earliest.

Kindly contact the Chief Program Officer at:proposal@smilefoundationindia.org

India: Special Tsunami relief package for fishermen

The Government today announced a special Rajiv Gandhi Tsunami Relief Package for distressed fishermen even as it directed the banks to speedily clear the loan applications of people in the tsunami-hit areas.

The Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, outlined the package at a meeting with the chief executives of 27 public sector banks. He said the new scheme would provide a subsidised financial package for the affected fishermen.

In addition, he directed the banks to clear the loan applications of those in tsunami-hit areas within 48 hours and restructure their debts. The Government will provide interest and capital subsidies to the banks giving loans to fishermen affected by the tsunami, according to the Financial Sector Secretary, N.S. Sisodia.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu


More details about the package at The Hindu

Friday, 28 January, 2005

Indian village beats tsunami with tree power

Two years ago, drought-stricken farmers in a village on the southern coast of India walked into the Guinness Book of World Records by planting the highest number of saplings in a 24-hour period.

On Dec. 26, as the killer tsunami struck down thousands of people and homes in Tamil Nadu state, the casuarina and eucalyptus trees which had been planted to appease the weather gods saved the lush green village of Naluvedapathy.

Of the nearly 8,000 people who died in the state, including 6,000 in one fishing village, only seven were from Naluvedapathy.

Read the Full Article at Reuters AlertNet

'Unusual quake pattern observed in A & N Islands'

Experts today said that there was "unusual earthquake pattern" in Andaman and Nicobar Islands with more than 120 tremblors recorded in the last one month releasing a large amount of seismic energy.

This kind of unusual release of large energy is considered as "unusual events" and "is unheard of in the history of seismology," the seismologists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Earth Sciences Department of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here, told PTI.

The Seismology Department of BARC and the Earth Sciences Department of IIT have recorded over 120 such unusual events in the islands following the December 26 major earthquake that measured 8.9 on the Richter scale in Sumatra Island in Indonesia triggering tsunamis that wrecked havoc in South and South-East Asia.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

To our readers

It's a month, almost to the hour, since this blog started posting, and we've been overwhelmed by the response from you, our readers, from the aid organisations we have been trying to help, and the support from the blog world and the press.

It reassures us that we have, in our small way, been able to help. Yet we also know there's a lot more that needs to be done.

We're also dealing with the fact that much as we want to help, we do have families and careers we've put aside, things we have responsibilities towards, lives of our own to live.

To help us focus our energies better in the more limited time we all have to give to this effort, we'd like to ask you what we can continue to give you, how we can keep helping, what kind of information you want.

Please use the comments section of this post to tell us.

(And if i may put in a small personal note to the team: it's been an honour to work with all of you on this. The experience has changed my life in so many ways, touched me in places i thought were long dead. Thank you.
Love and respect,

Thursday, 27 January, 2005

India: Scholarships for tsunami orphans

Association of Accredited Advisors on Overseas Education (AAAOE) today announced scholarships to 100 students who were orphaned in the December 26 tsunami as part of its five-point agenda this year.

AAAOE had proposed to offer scholarships worth Rs 20,000 per year for two years for students in the affected areas, especially in the worst-affected Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari and Cuddalore districts of Tamil Nadu.

The scholarship would cover the cost of uniform, fees, books at the school, under-graduate and post-graduate levels, the release said adding that all the children orphaned by the tsunami were eligible for the scholarship.

They had to submit a requisition letter along with relevant documents, the release said.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

UN seeks $67 million for increased risk of malaria, dengue fever after tsunami

Warning of an increased risk of deadly mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever sweeping across South Asian countries ravaged by last month’s tsunami, the United Nations health agency issued an urgent appeal today for $67 million to ward off a potentially severe public health crisis over the next six months.

With stagnant water creating favourable breeding conditions for the insects, the World Health Organization (WHO) has deployed experts and set up early warning and surveillance systems while public health laboratory services are being restored including provision of rapid diagnostic kits, medical supplies and equipment, and training of local health workers.

“Proper management of dengue hemorrhagic fever can reduce fatality rates and save many lives,” WHO’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia Samlee Plianbangchang said of the endemic disease, where rapid diagnosis and early treatment can make the difference between life and death. Unless proper treatment is given promptly, the patient may go into shock and die.

Read the Full Article at UN News Centre

Tsunami Survivors Risk Fungal Infection -Report

Survivors of the Asian tsunami, in which nearly 300,000 people were killed or are still missing, could be at risk of a deadly fungal infection, Australian researchers said on Friday.

Doctors at Sydney's St George Hospital who treated an infection called mucormycosis in an Australian man who was injured in the disaster, fear it could be the first case of many.

"Other cases of mucormycosis might develop in survivors, but this disease can be difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat, particularly in those who remain in affected regions," said Pamela Konecny in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News
WHO's Report on Vector-borne diseases

Online Center at Save The Chidren - USA

Save the Children USA has set up a new online center created that enables people who may have already given money to take further action to aid the victims of the devastating Southeast Asian tsunamis. The site is here - Save the Children.

Tsunami Song & its Aftermath

Here is a post that describes what is going with the so-called Tsunami Song, and the outrage it has generated. We have linked to an Mp3 of the radio clip, which is a lot like broadcasting, in my opinion.

Protests have succeeded, apparently, and the song is off air on Hot97. However, it's freely available and gaining popularity very rapidly via the internet. You really cannot stop information that wants to spread. Also, banning any kind of speech should not be an option since it only makes the song even more popular.

We have seen the rapidly waning interest of BigMedia in the "tsunami story", they're back to selling soap.

So one positive consequence of this offensive song is that it has put the tragedy right back into the immediate global consciousness. This is a desirable effect. We need to keep the global focus on fixing the tsunami's mess. We need art, even if offensive, to portray what happened, even if it seems tasteless to some people.

Lest we forget.

I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it. - Voltaire (French philosopher)

Wednesday, 26 January, 2005

Warning over tsunami aid 'holdup'

Only half the money requested by the UN in immediate aid for Indian Ocean tsunami victims has been received, according to the UK charity Oxfam.

A report by the charity published one month after the tragedy said more effort was needed to maintain the quality and quantity of aid.

Meanwhile the Red Cross said it was winding down its appeal after raising sufficient funds for aid efforts.

More than 70 Red Cross societies around the world are involved in the campaign.

Read the Full Article at BBC News
Oxfam's Latest Situation Report

Tuesday, 25 January, 2005

Asia tsunami death toll may be close to 300,000

The toll of dead and missing from the Asian tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Indonesia on Dec. 26, was 297,271 on Tuesday, according to collated figures from government and health officials.

The toll includes the missing from all tsunami-hit countries after Indonesia retracted a figure released last week for dead, and missing and presumed dead of 173,981.

Jakarta's health ministry said from Tuesday onward it would list the confirmed dead and another figure for the missing, many of whom were believed to be dead, but not all.

As of Tuesday, 95,992 bodies had been found and confirmed dead and there were 132,172 missing, it said.

Read the Full Article at Reuters AlertNet

In week 5 of tsunami disaster, UN help ranges from topography to AIDS

As the relief effort for the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster moves into its fifth week, United Nations agencies are producing topographical satellite maps to aid rehabilitation while raising the alarm for extra vigilance to avoid the further spread of AIDS through people forced into the sex trade because they have lost their other means of livelihood.

Beyond the immediate UN relief work of providing shelter, food and urgent medical and preventive care, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has prepared the Tsunami Atlas using satellite images collected from FAO data bases and completed by major spatial data sources on the web to assist in rebuilding lives and livelihoods.

"The atlas shows the tsunami-affected areas before and after the disaster, thus helping experts in evaluating the damage and estimating reconstruction and rehabilitation needs especially in the agricultural lands, the mangroves areas, as well in the coastal infrastructure that is used by farmers and fishermen," FAO remote sensing expert Dominique Lantieri said.

Read the Full Article at UN News Centre

Scandinavian Airlines sends $4m Tsunami Bill to 3 Nations

Source: Forbes.com

Excerpt: "Scandinavian Airlines System sent a 28 million kronor (US$4 million, euro3.1 million) bill to the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden for its 10-day airlift of Nordic citizens from Thailand in the aftermath of the tsunami. SAS organized 23 evacuation flights from Bangkok to the Scandinavian capitals Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm from Dec. 26 to Jan. 4, bringing home some 3,600 injured and stranded people from the region, including passengers on scheduled flights. Some of the planes were converted into air ambulances, the cost of which was included in the bill. "We also had to take aircraft out of normal service to be able to handle the flights, which were ordered by the three governments," SAS spokesman Bertil Ternert said. SAS said about 400 staffers were involved in the airlift. There was no immediate comment from the governments."

Rebuilding through microfinance - Grameen Foundation, USA

The task of rebuilding after the tsunami is enormous, and Grameen Foundation USA is committed to helping poor families in the region.

They say "We are in daily contact with our partners in South Asia helping them respond to the needs of the tsunami's victims -- with immediate relief followed by sustainable microfinance programs as the recovery progresses. We are supporting our microfinance partners -- such as ASA in Tamil Nadu, India -- to provide relief and rehabilitation to those hit hardest by the tsunami. As a grassroots organization, ASA is providing immediate aid. And, as an experienced microfinance partner, they are in place to help with rebuilding efforts and long-term solutions to poverty. The tsunami emergency will continue well into the future, although it will change form. Thousands have been thrust into poverty, including micro-entrepreneurs who have lost everything, including their business. Our partners in South Asia are ready to help people recover through the power of microfinance."

Source: Grameen Foundation website

Habitat for Humanity to build homes in areas hit by tsunami

Read the full story Habitat for Humanity International announced this week it is launching its largest operation ever - a $25 million drive to build some 25,000 transitional houses in two years for thousands of families left homeless by the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people and destroyed a huge number of houses.

Read the full story here

Unfortunate but true

Source: IOL

Port Blair, India - Pirated Bollywood movies aside, new releases are ruling the black market video charts - grisly amateur videos of the tsunami horror."There is great demand for them," said Mukesh Vyas, a compact disc dealer in Port Blair, capital of the hard-hit Andaman and Nicobar Island chain. "We don't have the stock, they are so hard to get."

In corners of tsunami-savaged Asia, videos from the disaster have become a retail commodity - popular in some areas, not so much in others. Some of the video CDs are simply news footage recorded from television broadcasts. But more often, it's highly graphic footage, often shot by amateurs, that would never make it onto broadcast TV. The videos have infuriated survivors and, in a few instances, put police into action.

Read the full story here http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=2985&art_id=vn20050124074458262C778887

Aftershocks will continue for six more months in the Andamans

A month after the high-intensity earthquake off the coast of Sumatra causing tsunami that killed thousands, the Katchall island today recorded another earthquake of 6.3 intensity on the Richter scale. This, according to R.K. Chadha, scientist at the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute, is an aftershock. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, it is the 27th aftershock in the Andaman region with an intensity of six and above.

Aftershocks of reducing intensity can be expected to rattle the Andaman and Nicobar islands as they fall in the subduction zone. [A subduction zone is the place where one plate dives below another. In this case, the India plate dived below the Burma microplate. The trench is the surface expression of this phenomenon. The subduction zone in this case is nearly 100 km in width and stretches from Sumatra to the Andaman group of islands].

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

Low cost, low tech water filtration

Aid workers in the field will find this useful.

New filter promises clean water for millions

The production of the filters is extremely simple. Take a handful of dry, crushed clay, mix it with a handful of organic material, such as used tea leaves, coffee grounds or rice hulls, add enough water to make a stiff biscuit-like mixture and form a cylindrical pot that has one end closed. Dry the pot in the sun, then surround them with straw, place in a mound of cow manure, light the straw and then top up the burning manure as required. In less than an hour the filters are finished.


The filtration process is simple, but effective. The basic principle is that there are passages through the filter that are wide enough for water droplets to pass through, but too narrow for pathogens.

Organic materials which are combined with the clay burn away during the firing process, leaving cavities that help produce the structure in which pathogens will become trapped.


Tests with the deadly E-coli bacterium have seen the filters remove 96.4 to 99.8 per cent of the pathogen — well within safe levels. Using only one filter, a litre of clean water can be produced in just two hours.
Read the full article at Australian National University

Monday, 24 January, 2005

Fresh earthquakes in Asia spark Panic

Fresh earthquakes in Asia Monday rattled traumatized survivors of last month's killer tsunami, while Indonesia and rebels in Aceh agreed to hold talks, seeking to turn the calamity into a chance for peace.


Almost a month after the tsunami killed as many as 234,000 people across the Indian Ocean, a strong earthquake hit Indonesia's eastern Sulawesi island, killing one person, and a tremor rattled the provincial capital Banda Aceh, sending frightened tsunami survivors running into the streets.

Another quake, measuring 6.5, was recorded west of Great Nicobar island in India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were badly hit by the Dec. 26 tsunami, but there were no reports of casualties or damage.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News

Rehabilitation package for fishermen in South India

In The Hindu : Rs. 32,000 subsidy for fishermen to buy boats.

"NEW DELHI, JAN. 19. Under the Union Cabinet's Rs. 2,731-crore relief and rehabilitation package for the victims of the tsunami in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pondicherry, fishermen who have lost their catamarans will be provided a subsidy of Rs. 32,000 to buy new ones.

Those who have lost boats with motors will be given a subsidy of 35 per cent and a loan for the balance amount for a vessel costing up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs. Those who had mechanised boats will be provided a subsidy of 35 per cent up to a ceiling of Rs. 5 lakhs and a loan for the remaining amount up to a unit cost of Rs. 20 lakhs.

In case only repairs were required, a subsidy of 60 per cent with a ceiling of Rs. 3 lakhs will be given for mechanised boats and a full subsidy of up to Rs. 10,000 for all other types of boats."

Powerful Quake Rocks Indonesian Island

A powerful earthquake rocked parts of Indonesia's Sulawesi Island early Monday, damaging around 30 houses, officials said. No injuries were immediately reported.

The epicenter of the 6.2-magnitude quake was initially determined to be over the central part of Sulawesi, about 10 miles southwest of the city of Palu, said Suharjono, a seismologist in Jakarta.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News

Sunday, 23 January, 2005

Malnutrition on the rise in tsunami-hit Indonesia, UN says

Malnutrition is a growing problem among tsunami survivors in Indonesia, the United Nations warned, with high prices and poor quality food leaving many vulnerable to sickness.

The UN's World Food Programme said a study of the west and northeast coasts of Sumatra island found families were eating less than three meals per day and were failing to get the required nutrients.

Despite a huge humanitarian effort to bring supplies to isolated communities, many people were without proper access to food weeks after the disaster, sparking fears that more people could perish.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News

Rehabilitation Measures: Pune-23rd Jan.

27th Day from the Tsunami...

As these many days have passed, two major things have happened. 1] The operations have moved on from Rescue & Relief towards Rehabilitation & Reconstruction. 2] The memories of Tsunami have faded and so has the public sentiment 'to do something'receded in the background of daily chores and other news.

The truth is that the real work after the tragedy has just begun. It is this painful journey to restoration of homes and livelihoods that will contribute to any meaningful reconstruction. The task must go on when the cameras are long gone!

The government will slowly get into the rehabilitation mode after the sanctions and paper flow from all departments; a few sincere NGO's will carry on with their commitment and manage villages for a few months or an year; international aid in some form may arrive and be used for development and rebuilding in due time; the media will re-visit Tsunami when monthly or the annual anniversary is observed but what about us...individuals? Can everything be done by the government and should everything be left to its resources alone? Has our enthusiasm been put back on the shelf till such time, (God forbid) another calamity arrives? Have we done enough that we can sit back and pat our backs now?

No doubt the ordinary Indian, the common man/woman on the street has felt immensely shaken by the disaster and very many individuals have indeed made possible a healthy contribution to the PM's National Relief Fund and other aid organisations both in money and kind. However, more can be done and we can make it happen. Small things like a tiny monthly contribution (when people get their salaries) for 1 year, to the PM's fund can help in a big way to build houses, provide new boats, fishing nets, food, schools, health and sanitation facilities to the affected people in the innumerable affected villages. People can also make a contribution of this nature to a good NGO working in the affected area (like an organisation like Red Cross / AID India etc. having adopted a village for 3 months to 1 year etc.)

The other thing that can be done is offering voluntary services for a week or 10 days. Groups of 10 could be formed in cities across India and people who can manage some of their expenses can contact local organisations like Maitri or CYDA in Pune. A travel and action plan can then be chalked out after speaking to the people or organisations in the field or coordinators in Madras (all this information by now is available with local NGO's working for Tsunami relief in different cities); then the team so formed can move after a small orientation from the local NGO and basic inoculation etc. Volunteers need note one important thing that they are going to help (not add to confusion) , hence the trip has to be organised properly and coordinated with some groups already active on the field.

The above 2 are constructive ways in which Indians can still make a difference, a contribution towards a requirement still unmet.

From Pune, a lot of work towards relief and rehabilitation has been done by Red Cross, Maitri, CYDA, Arogya Sena and Rotary among others. Many volunteer groups have been organised by NGO's in the last 3 weeks and they have gone out and done good work.

A fresh team of 12 young volunteers (who are many in numbers) has been organised after proper requirement assessment and coordination with AID, a prominent NGO working in Tamil Nadu. They are expected to be leaving Pune on the 28th of January to spend 7 days in the setting up of a new relief camp. Reports about their work and experiences would be available on this site in the coming days. The difference is that this group is an an initiative of individuals and not any organisation however, NGO's would be coordinating as a link from Pune to Tamil Nadu. Similar efforts are expected to happen in the near future too and it is a hoped that across the country people would respond with such endeavours.

For any information on activities in Pune or contacts in other cities, write in at vmoorthy@rediffmail.com.

Sri Lanka: Urgent Flash Appeal for Tents

The Government of Sri Lanka through the Center for National Operations is appealing to the International Organizations to provide family size tents with immediate effect.

As the schools now providing shelter to over 17,000 families have to be vacated in order to start the first term it is very necessary that these families are provided with decent accommodation in temporary shelter until they are provided with semi-permanent and permanent housing.

Dhammika Hewapathirana
Telephone Number 077-3166818
E mail Address cnops@presidentsoffice.lk

Guidelines for family tents:

Double fly double fold centre pole tent (family sized tent)

External dimensions:
4.4m x 4.4m (outer fly), surface area 19.36 sq.m., centre height 3m.

Internal dimensions:
4m x 4 m, floor area 16 sq.m., centre height 2.75m, side wall height 1.8m (25 cm distance between outer and inner fly).

Cotton canvas; 100% cotton yarn (10/2 x 10/2 twisted in warp 42/44, weft 24/26 threads per inch, plain weave); 15-16 oz/sq.m. Canvas to be free of weaving defects and finishing faults adversely affecting strength, waterproof ness and durability. Water proofing/resistance to water Penetration by paraffin wax emulsion and aluminum acetate to withstand 20-30 cm hydrostatic head. Stabilization against decomposition of the fabric (rot-proofing) with copper aphanites.

4 aluminum or bamboo poles for roof corners (2m x 22mm diameter); heavy duty sectional steel tube (or aluminum or bamboo) centre pole, plastic clad or galvanized (3m x 50mm diameter). Complete with ropes made of 9mm 3 strand polypropylene; 24 T-Type bars 40mm x 40mm, 50 cm long; 12 iron pegs (25cm x 9mm diameter), one iron hammer of 1 kg; one repair kit with one straight and one curved needle with 20m of suitable thread for tent repair; illustrated assembly instructions with list of Contents.

Reinforced PVC groundsheet 250gm/sq.m.

Source: CNO

UK: Stadium tsunami gig raises £1.25m

The biggest charity concert since Live Aid 20 years ago has been staged in Cardiff - for victims of the tsunami disaster in Asia.

More than 60,000 fans were at Cardiff Millennium Stadium. Millions more joined in on TV, radio and online.

Eric Clapton, Manic Street Preachers, Keane and Charlotte Church were among those who performed in the marathon concert of more than seven hours.

At the end of the evening organisers said the event had raised £1.25m.

Read the Full Article at BBC News

Tsunami cost Aceh a generation and $4.4bn

The first comprehensive study of the damage caused by the tsunami in Indonesia reveals a devastated society and a staggering number children killed and orphaned.

The study by the World Bank and Indonesian government estimates the total bill for the destruction of property and businesses at more than $4.4bn (£2.34bn).

About 700,000 people are homeless, and farmers, fishermen and others with small businesses have lost their liveli hoods and cannot rebuild because they have no income.

"The scale of the damages to the local economy, infrastructure, and administration were unprecedented. In an instant, the livelihoods and security of hundreds of thousands of the survivors were ruined," the joint report says.

It concludes that only a massive international effort can rebuild the devastated areas.

Read the Full Article at The Guardian

India: UNDP to help TN State in rehabilitation of tsunami-hit

The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-New Delhi), Maxine Olson, today said the organisation would give technical and financial support to the Tamil Nadu Government in rehabilitation and resettlement of the tsunami-affected people. The aim was to support Government efforts to regain the livelihood and provide shelter to the victims. This would be done in consultation with the people in the affected villages, and imparting them training on how to cope with such natural calamities in future.

Ms. Olson, who visited Cuddalore along with three experts, told presspersons that the UNDP had vast experience in dealing with natural calamities: it had brought succour at the time of Orissa super cyclone and Gujarat earthquake.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

Tsunami victim rescued after 26 days stranded on island

A victim of last month's tsunamis was rescued after surviving alone for 26 days on a partially submerged island in India's Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, the Indian navy said

Michael Mangal, a Nicobarese tribesman who had been living on coconuts since the December 26 disaster, was spotted waving a cloth flag made from his clothes by a joint navy and civilian search and rescue team on Friday.

"The team spotted him waving a stick flag on Pillow Panja island. He was in his underwear and had used his clothes to make the flag. He was exhausted and weak when the rescue team brought him back to Port Blair," navy spokesman Salil Mehta told AFP.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News

Saturday, 22 January, 2005

India: Three-tier counselling in Nagapattinam

A three-tier strategic plan for counselling and psychological care has been put in place in Nagapattinam, one of the worst affected districts in the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

The district administration has drawn on the experience of experts and officials to firm up the strategy, which includes providing immediate psychosocial support, identifying the most affected and training community- level volunteers to assist those in need.

At the grass roots, the trained community volunteers and primary health centre nurses look at the needs. If need be, trained medical personnel will step in. Again, if trauma is considerable, the affected will be referred to psychiatrists who have come from the NIMHANS, Bangalore, the Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, and the CMC, Vellore.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

India: Fresh panic in islands drives hundreds to mainland India

Fresh panic gripped the Andaman and Nicobar islands today as rumours of its subsidence drove hundreds to board ships to mainland India with all their life's savings while the administration tried hard to explain that there was no scientific basis to the fear.

The rumours said the islands would slowly sink in the sea on January 21 or 26 and this made the tsunami-battered people rush to pack their bags.

Hundreds queued up to take any of the next available vessel - MV Akbar, MV Nicobar, MV Nancowry, MV Swarajdweep, MV Harshavardhan -- that could take them to the safer terrains in Chennai, Kolkata or Visakhapatnam.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

Friday, 21 January, 2005

India: Chicken pox reported among children in Nagapattinam

Sporadic cases of chicken pox have been reported among children accommodated in temporary shelters for tsunami victims in Nagapattinam, Special Commissioner for tsunami victims Shanta Sheela Nair said.

She said prompt medical attention was provided to the children. They have been quarantined, Nair told reporters on Thursday.

Nair dismissed fears of any epidemic and said many medical teams were working in all the camps.

Of the 15,703 children screened, 15,407 were diagnosed with various minor ailments, District Collector J Radhakrishnan said. Medicines have been prescribed for them, he added.

Source: Rediff

Sri Lanka's tsunami recovery plan

Sri Lanka will spend $1.5 billion of its $3.5 billion tsunami-recovery budget on new infrastructure rather than reconstruction or relief, documents obtained by Reuters showed on Friday.

Following are key facts about the draft plan to rehabilitate areas devastated by the Dec. 26 catastrophe. All figures in millions of dollars unless otherwise stated. The plan has three phases:

Emergency repairs 270.35
Reconstruction and rehabilitation 1,688.25
Improvements and additions 1,525.70
Total 3,484.30

Read the Full Article at Reuters AlertNet
Sri Lankan Govt Report [Warning: PDF] on Relief Efforts so far
Sri Lankan Central Bank has setup a Tsunami Relief Fund [Warning: PDF]

Aceh: Help Journalist-victims of Tsunami Disaster

From International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) network:

Dozens of journalists and media workers were among the victims of last week's devastating tsunami disaster that has so far claimed the lives of over 150,000 people in South Asia, including staff members of "Serambi Indonesia," the only daily newspaper in the Indonesian province of Aceh, report IFEX members.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, AJI) is appealing for financial assistance to help the families of journalists who have been killed or have gone missing in Indonesia. AJI has 36 members in the affected areas, which include Lhokseumawe and Banda Aceh. It says three of its 25 members in Banda Aceh are confirmed dead and eight are missing.

Financial assistance can be sent to:

Account Number: 446-1479
Name of Bank: BNI Senayan Branch
Address of Bank: Jl. Gatot Subroto Kav. 55, Central Jakarta 10210

Contact AJI at:
Jl. Danau Poso Blok D1 no. 29,
Bendungan Hilir,
Jakarta, Indonesia 10210;
Tel: +62 21 5790 0489;
Fax: +62 21 573 4581;
E-mail: sekretariatnya_AJI@yahoo.com

Read the Full Appeal on IFEX's website

Warning System Agreed For Tsunami

BEIJING, Jan. 21 -- Officials from around the world meeting in Japan agreed on Thursday to establish a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean within 12 to 18 months.

The pledge came from a United Nations-sponsored conference on disaster prevention in Kobe, Japan. Salvano Briceno, director of the U.N.'s disaster reduction body outlined the proposed timeline: "We've estimated with a technical institution that in the matter of a year, at latest 18 months, there should be a basic regional capacity on tsunami early warning."

For full story click here

UN put in charge of coordinating tsunami warning system

The United Nations was put in charge of sorting out differences among countries offering to build a tsunami early warning system after a flood of proposals in the wake of the Indian Ocean tragedy.

Salvano Briceno, head of the UN disaster reduction group, said a system to warn of giant waves in the Indian Ocean was still on track to be running in 12 to 18 months.

A draft of the common statement of the 150 countries meeting in Kobe, Japan agreed the United Nations "would integrate regional disaster reduction strategies."

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News
Read UN's Comprehensive Plan

Thursday, 20 January, 2005

Sri Lanka: Protests

The People of Hambantota town who were displaced by the Tsunami have been protesting against the proposed resettlement site in Kajuwatta, which is about 4 kms from the harbor and 2 km inland. The fishing communities who lived in this area were seen holding up placards saying 'give us back our land' and 'lay the first stone here' in response to a symbolic stone laying ceremony held at the new site on Tuesday.

The Government has promised to carry out resettlement activities in consultation with the displaced people but the protestors in Hambantota town say that this has not happened.

Sri Lanka: Tsunami Relief Foundation

The Tsunami Relief Foundation, Sri Lanka was set up by several young tsunami survivors from Sri Lanka:
'Many young people from various places in the world have been putting a lot of their time & energy into the tsunami relief efforts being undertaken by existing organizations. Many of the relief efforts have proved fruitful, although there have been times when we have not been provided with efficient or informative feed back, and also times when we have received news of the misdirection of funds and aid. Frustrated by the lack of clarity about where funding is going to, or ‘not’ going to, we have, after much thought and consideration, decided to embark on our own project- The Tsunami Relief Foundation.'


India: Centre to counsel tsunami victims launched

A specialised counselling centre to tackle the post-traumatic stress among tsunami victims and provide medicare for them was launched today in Chennai, Tamilnadu.

Prof. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas, Chairman, the Neurosciences India Group (NSIG) said the centre, set up at St. Isabel's Hospital, would offer multi-disciplinary service, through education of medical and allied professionals and organisation of public lectures and educational symposia each year.

The counselling centre has a psychiatrist, two clinical psychologists, a cognitive behaviour therapist, a child development counsellor, a physical/occupational therapist and social workers. Service-minded organisations working for the tsunami relief operations can depute their staff to register for the workshops by accessing the NSIG helpline 98401-24954 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., they said.

They require considerable financial assistance in order to ensure the comprehensive rehabilitation of these individuals. Donations (INR Cheques) can be mailed to the following address:

Flat 2, Mahadev Apartments,
No.8/6, Bhaskarapuram
(Behind Nageswararao Park),
Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004,
Tamil Nadu, India.

More info on NSIG's website
Read the News Article at The Hindu

Updated Relief Maps and Sat Images for Tsunami Affected Areas

Reuters AlertNet has a detailed list of available maps and satellite images found from various european agencies for the most affected countries/areas:

Sri Lanka Maps and Satellite Images

Thailand Maps and Satellite Images

Indonesia Maps and Satellite Images

India Maps and Satellite Images

Psychological trauma a serious problem in tsunami-hit areas: WHO

The World Health Organisation today warned that the problem of psychological trauma among the tsunami-affected might be more serious than what was so far believed. Unless urgent action was taken, the long-term effect on the victims could be "terrible."

Citing reports from health workers who had been in the tsunami-hit areas, the WHO said that virtually everyone who had been affected by the natural disaster appeared to be suffering from some form of psychosocial trauma or other and needed support.

Read the Full Article at The Hindu

Asia's tsunami death toll soars

The number of people known to have died in last month's Asian tsunami has reached 220,000.

The toll increased dramatically after Indonesian officials announced that more than 166,000 had been confirmed dead in their country alone.

The latest figure is more than 50,000 higher than the previous total issued by Indonesia's health ministry.

Most of the deaths came from the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, which were directly hit by the tsunami.

UN and Indonesian officials have said the total number of deaths may never be known.

Read the Full Article at BBC News

India: Nagore needs financial help for fishermen rehab

This request comes to us by email:

We are desperately in need of your help; we need your financial help to help these poor fisher man families to build their houses and to fix their boats so that they can stand on their feet. We are currently in the process of building a temporary shelter in the land which has been provided by the Nagore Dargha Shrine, so that these poor victims can be temporarily replaced from mosques and schools where they can have some privacy. Please help us in our effort; please send us your donations to

Ar-Rahman Helping Group
3/10 Siya Maricar Street
Nagore - 611002,
Tamil Nadu, India.

Mobile phone: Mr. Ahamed Maricar +91-94431-50782
Telephone: +91-4365-252821

Shaik Maricar +1(718)406-4631


UN agencies look to longer-term rehabilitation after Indian Ocean tsunami

With emergency relief now reaching nearly all affected communities in the Indonesian province of Aceh, the area most ravaged by last month’s Indian Ocean tsunami, United Nations agencies are looking to mitigate the longer term impact of a disaster that killed at least 165,000 in a dozen countries and deprived up to 5 million more of basic services.

From trade to employment to the environment experts are drafting plans for longer-term rehabilitation.

“The humanitarian response by the international community, under United Nations leadership, needs to be matched by a coherent, comprehensive and longer-term package of policy measures and actions to support and revive economic activity in the affected countries,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says.

Read the Full Article at UN News Centre

Wednesday, 19 January, 2005

CRY telethon on Sony Entertainment Television

The CRY Telethon, a 7-hour live entertainment extravaganza, will see a host of celebrities from all walks of life come together to involve the nation in CRY's movement for child rights.
Date Jan 26, 2005
Venue Sony Entertainment Television
Time 1 p.m.onwards

India unveils $628m tsunami aid

India has unveiled a 27bn rupee ($628m) reconstruction package for mainland areas hit by December's tsunami.

The new money will be released when administrators provide details of projects, a government spokesman said.

More money could also be announced this week for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the finance minister said.

More than 10,500 people died in India and more than 5,500 are missing presumed dead - almost all in the Andamans and Nicobars.

Read the Full Article at BBC News

Sri Lanka: Rebuilding houses for Tsunami Victims

Ken Faris, wrote to us about The SEAChange Initiative through which they are helping tsunami victims to rebuild their houses.

My colleagues and I have created a collective of existing, and new foundations that have the express goal of providing semi-permanent, clean, modern, and dignified housing to those effected by the tsunami. We are working closely with IcosaVillage and are in touch with the staff of the Sewalanka Foundation to coordinate and execute this effort. Further we are working with All-In-Vision and DomeLife productions to ensure through daily broadcast that those who donate will have live updates on exactly how their dollars are being spent.

You can visit our website at seaci.org to find out more about this effort.

Tsunami environmental damage widespread,experts say

Vast expanses of once-green rice fields now turned brown from salty ocean water carried far inland only hint at the environmental damage caused by last month's mighty tsunami, environmental experts say.

They say the wave sparked by a powerful earthquake on Dec. 26 has destroyed beaches, damaged coral reefs, polluted ground water, put animal species in danger of extinction, changed the contours of land and rivers and rendered much farm land useless.

"The environmental damage has been huge, from the obvious and visible destruction along the coastal areas to the possibility of extinction of certain species," said Ridha Saleh, deputy of director at Walhi, a leading Indonesian environmental group.

Read the Full Article from Reuters AlertNet

Is Tsunami Stale News Now? - 'Give India' - give!

Tsunami Rehabilitation Corpus Fund

GiveIndia set up a Tsunami Rehabilitation Fund to support immediate initiatives undertaken by partner NGOs to help those affected by the Tsunami waves that washed over southern India on December 26, 2004. The money raised through this fund will also support the long-term plans for rehabilitation of the affected people and will be disbursed according to the specific needs of projects undertaken by partner NGOs in the affected areas.

Some of the relief work initiated by our partner NGOs since December 26, 2004 have helped nearly 120 fishermen from the villages of Thippalavalsa, Thammayyapalam and Barripeta of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh in repairing their boats and resuming fishing, provided medical relief to over 2000 people in relief camps at Mahabalipuram and Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu and met the daily needs of around 5000 families in Tirukollam, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. Overall, our partner NGOs has assisted over 24,000 people since the disaster.

GiveIndia is a professionally governed and managed online charity portal dedicated to promote "giving". 100% of the donation given to the Tsunami Rehabilitation Fund through the click2donate channel on rediff.com will be disbursed towards the Tsunami cause.

Every individual contribution will be acknowledged by GiveIndia, and details of how every rupee is used will also be provided online at click2donate. All donations are tax deductible under section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The partner NGOs currently working with GiveIndia on the Tsunami disaster in the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are Amar Seva Sangam, Hindu Mission Hospital, The Banyan, Jeevan Blood Bank and Research Centre, Association for Sustainable Community Development (ASSCOD), ASSIST, HELP, Association for Rural Development and Action Research (ARDAR) and Centre of Environment and Development (CEAD).

Your generous contribution towards this effort will go a long way in rebuilding lives of the affected.

[Please check the following source: http://giveindia.rediff.com]

Tuesday, 18 January, 2005

First Person Account from Northeast Sri Lanka

The story below was generously shared by Harini, who was in Sri Lanka during and after. You can see her associated pictures here. Her comments on the pictures: "It's just a sample of the devastation caused...the pix of the boys in the orphanage are pre-tsunami on Christmas day we spent the day with them...everything else is aftermath of post-tsunami..."

The Tsunami disaster and the politics of international aid

Going back home, to the northeast of Sri Lanka, over the December holidays was an opportunity for me to learn about my homeland and discover my roots. I was born and raised in Canada, and the last time I had visited my homeland was as a small child in 1983.

When I stepped on the plane to begin my personal journey I never expected that it would end up being such a life-altering experience. I knew that this would be a profound experience for me, but never did I imagine the extent to which this trip would change my life. The tsunami that devastated 11 Asian countries hit the eastern coastline of Sri Lanka on the morning of December 26, 2004. The northeastern coastline of Sri Lanka was one of the hardest hit areas in the region. The group of almost 30 Canadian Tamil students that I was traveling with was only kilometers from the shorelines when the tsunami struck.

I remember hearing the sirens of numerous ambulances racing by the bus that was carrying us to our next location. I remember thinking, what in the world is going on? I looked over at the person sitting next to me and asked if the flooding was really that bad (recently there had been severe flooding in the area). We passed a small coastal town and saw the townspeople standing and sitting on the side of the road with somber expressions on their face. We asked what had happened, and they said that the waves from the ocean had claimed some lives. Neither they nor us knew the extent of this humanitarian tragedy. It would be one of the worst the world has ever seen.

We got off the bus to take some pictures of the landscape. After snapping some shots, I returned to the road to get back on the bus. To my unbelievable horror I saw a tractor carrying the bodies of several small children. At that point, I was standing, frozen, on the side of the road. Time stood still. I was in shock. I had never seen dead bodies in that state before. I felt as if I was in a dream. Someone helped me cross the road and get into the bus. I sat in the bus in silence. I kept seeing those tiny faces. To this day, when I close my eyes, I can still see those small faces.

As soon as we heard about the extent of the devastation we were dumbstruck. I could not believe this was happening. How could the ocean – such a beautiful and majestic force of nature – turn into a violent and destructive storm of death? I used to love the ocean. It was one of my favorite things in the world. The smell of the seawater, the feel of the wind, the sound of the crashing waves. Now, those sights, sounds, and smells terrify me.

I wondered what could we do to help the people who lost so much. We collected money and our own clothing to donate to people who were displaced and temporarily housed in schools. However, this didn’t seem like enough. That night a small group of students traveling with us went to the affected areas. They reported back with horrific stories. We saw video footage of grieving families, still in their wet clothes, wailing in horror. The bodies of their loved ones laying in rows; some were stacked one on top of each other. There was so much death.

The next day we went to the communities on the northeast coast that were hardest hit. We visited a village called Mullattivu, which has been devastated. We were completely overwhelmed by what we saw. The entire village had been washed away. The stench of death hung in the air. The waves had ripped children from their mothers’ arms. Fishing boats had tossed and turned on top of the waves and were thrown miles inland. Belongings and precious family mementos were scattered on the ground. I saw a photo album left on the ground. I flipped through the pictures and saw smiling happy faces. At that moment I prayed that the family was safe and would soon return to retrieve their belongings.

We went to visit the schools that housed the hundreds of people left homeless and displaced. There were no toilet facilities and supplies were limited. A few medical students cared for the injured, who formed long lines to get medical attention. Hundreds of children roamed around, some crying uncontrollably, others oblivious to the devastation and distress. In the background was the constant wailing of grief-stricken survivors. We had to choke back our own tears when we spoke with the survivors and heard their stories.

The relief efforts were coordinated by the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, an NGO that operates in the north and east of Sri Lanka. They were the only organization present in the Tamil Tiger-controlled areas. Other NGO’s such as Oxfam and UNICEF had only briefly drove by in their air-conditioned jeeps to drop of a few dozen mats (UNICEF had their mats embedded with their logo). We were saddened to see that there was no international aid coming into the Tiger-controlled areas. The Tamil areas in the north and east were some of the worst-affected areas, yet none of the international aid pledged was getting to these hardest hit areas. We were there continuously for three days, but we failed to see any international aid in these areas. It was truly unfortunate that politics had come before humanitarian need. The Sri Lankan government was refusing to allow relief aid to enter Tiger-controlled areas. As a result, some people – those who had lost everything and everyone they loved – were left in shelters with limited supplies and no help from outside sources. They only had each other to count on.

We spoke with survivors and heard incredible stories of how they saw this giant black cloud of water over 40-feet high coming towards them. They told us how they had no time to think or gather any belongings. They just ran for their lives. They did not know where they were running to. They only knew what they were running from. They told us how they saw their neighbors and members of their own family be carried away by the giant waves and the receding sea. Most of the lives lost were those of women and children. So many children have been lost.

Senthalir Illam, an orphanage for children who lost their parents due to the civil war in Sri Lanka, lost hundreds of children – only 30 survived. We visited the site, and as we walked to the grounds we saw school desks and chairs scattered on the ground. There was a mangled crib in front of the damaged building where the children used to sleep and dream about their futures. I can’t describe how powerful a moment it was to stand on the ground upon which laughing children had played, knowing that most had been carried away by the raging waves. Only days earlier a friend of mine who had visited that orphanage had shown me video clips of those very children. I kept imagining those laughing children playing in the field. At that moment I broke down. I cried uncontrollably, along with my fellow students, at the loss of such innocent and young lives.

Children have also been left orphaned by this tragedy. Many villages and families have only a few survivors. One of the stories I heard from a survivor I will never forget as long as I live. It was the story of an 84-year-old grandmother. This story was very powerful to me because I recently lost my own grandmother. At one of the schools I visited there were two elderly women sitting on the ground alone. I walked up to them to hear their stories. One of the grandmothers told me how she had heard from neighbors about the waves coming. They told her to run and so she ran. While she was running she was thinking about her other family members. They lived in nearby houses. She tried desperately to find out about her family. She found out that none had survived. All of her children and all of her grandchildren had been taken by the waves. I wiped away her tears as she told me that she was alone in the world. She then said to me, “Why did I survive? I am an old lady. Why hadn’t my children or grandchildren survived? They had a future.” These words would haunt me for the rest of my trip. So many children were lost. In some villages no children survived. A whole generation has been lost.

The trip has changed my life forever. I am no longer the person I was a month ago. Being home in Toronto feels surreal. It is hard to reconcile the person that I am today with the life that I used to have. I have learned so much from this experience. I have seen devastation and destruction, but I have also see generosity and hope for the future. This tsunami has brought together people from all over the world in an unprecedented way.

I made a promise to those grandmothers that evening. I told them that I would go back to Canada and share their stories. I promised them that the international community would hear their stories and help alleviate the suffering of the survivors, that we would help them to rebuild their communities and their lives. Most of the people we spoke to had only one request for us: not to forget them.

There is so much work to be done. The long-term needs of these communities are enormous. Fishermen need boats to regain their livelihood. Schools need books, desks and chairs. Orphanages need to be repaired. Houses need to be reconstructed. People need to deal with the emotional scars of loosing their entire family. Let us not forget them!

For information about tsunami relief in the North and East of Sri Lanka please visit:
Tamil Rehabilitation Organization: http://www.troonline.org/ (416) 751-8777
Tamil Children’s Endowment Fund: http://www.tcefund.org/ (416) 451-3125

Tsunami rumour sparks Chile panic

Thousands of panicking people in southern Chile have fled their homes after a false tsunami alarm.

One woman died of a heart attack and others were wounded as they tried to flee coastal areas near the towns of Concepcion and Talcahuano.

The exodus began as reports that fishermen had spotted apparent signs of an impending tsunami spread through the densely populated area.

Read the Full Article at BBC News

U.N. Tsunami Conference Opens in Japan

A global conference on the tsunami catastrophe opened Tuesday amid calls for direct world action to prevent such natural events from becoming mass killers. The gathering drew some 3,000 government officials, non-governmental experts and other specialists from around the world to find ways to reverse the growth in numbers of people affected by natural disasters.


The Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami, which claimed at least 162,000 lives in 11 nations, has focused new attention on the long-planned U.N. conference, where delegates are expected to work on plans for a tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean similar to one on guard for killer waves in the Pacific.

Read the Full Artile at Yahoo News

Monday, 17 January, 2005

UK Radio Aid: Tsunami Fundraiser

Commercial radio stations across the UK will put their differences aside today, as they unite to support the Tsunami Victims with a unified broadcast. UK Radio Aid is a unique national commercial radio station that will specifically focus on raising money for the children affected by the Asian Tsunami and support them as they to start to rebuild their lives and look to the future.

In an unprecedented collaboration various radio groups and stations, including oneword, will suspend broadcast of their usual schedules from 0600hrs to 1800hrs (Today, January 17, 2005) , and air one single star-studded programme to an estimated audience of over 26 million listeners, the biggest ever UK commercial radio audience.

Participating stations have agreed to launch the appeal by each donating one day's profits. This initial donation will be supported and built upon by asking listeners to donate one hour of their time or money to the appeal. With the support of Prime Minister Tony Blair, some of the biggest names in radio history alongside other major politicians, musicians, sports and TV stars are being asked to take part in the 12 hour broadcast that will be aired live. Each hour of programming will be hosted by two guest DJs who will introduce live acoustic sets, guest interviews, competitions, auctions, pledges, messages and news breaks.

To donate by phone call: 0870 512 22 88
Text "radio" to 83321 and £1.50 will be donated to the appeal
To donate online visit www.ukradioaid.com

Read the UK AFP Article on this fundraiser

Computer Worm Exploits Tsunami to Spread Virus

A mass e-mail posing as a plea for aid to help the victims of last month's Asian tsunami disaster is actually a vehicle for spreading a computer virus, Web security firm Sophos said Monday.

The worm appears with the subject line: "Tsunami donation! Please help!" and invites recipients to open an attachment called "tsunami.exe" -- which, if opened, will forward the virus to other Internet users.

It could also initiate a denial-of-service attack against a German hacking Web Site, Sophos said, in which the site's server would be bombarded with messages, putting it out of action.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News
More info about Virus - W32/VBSun-A

UK: Friends of Unawatuna

An appeal from Friends of Unawatuna, a group of private individuals who have pledged their personal support (financial or otherwise) to assist the regeneration of the community of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.

'The people of Unawatuna have lost every thing - families, homes and livelihoods. Friends at Unawatuna, set up by survivors of the disaster, is a long term project. The aim is to help the villagers rebuild the basic infrastructure necessary to allow them to reconstruct their lives.

This will include the reconstruction of sewage, clean water and electricity supplies, and to provide the materials to allow them to rebuild their community. Steps are being taken to set up facilities for donations which will be administered at no cost by the Friends of Unawatuna. Until this exsists, please register your support and pledge your donations to support@friendsofunawatuna.org.uk

Read their Statement of Intent

Friends of Unawatuna

Memphis, TN area benefit 1/22/05

From a reader of another website

I’ve been coordinating a fundraising drive in Memphis, TN which is throwing a benefit party this upcoming Saturday, January 22nd – details below. The owner of India Palace has graciously let us use his venue at no cost for the event, and the DJ is also working the decks pro bono, so that the maximum amount generated from the benefit can go directly towards aid, not overhead. All proceeds are going to progressive, grass-roots NGOs with a longer-term, egalitarian view of relief and reconstruction in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia – we’re identifying groups to support currently from a shortlist including:

In Indonesia:

Kontras (the lead group of the Indonesia Civil Society Coalition for Tsunami Victims); Solidaritas Perempuan (a grassroots group organizing relief efforts, focusing on poor women); IMC (International Medical Corps), which is not grass-roots, but is handling a large chunk of direct medical aid in the area and is requesting both monetary and material aid.

In Sri Lanka:

Sarvodaya (a Sri Lankan organization with the largest community network in the country, which is conducting relief efforts in all Sinhalese regions, and directing aid to Tamil groups in the northeast as well); Sewalanka (another Sri Lankan organization which has set up refugee camps and clinics and have infrastructure in place from relief work during the war); Diverse Communications (the US receiving point for donations towards the EQUAL GROUND Relief and Assistance Program); and SEED, an organization that has direct access to affected areas in rebel-dominated northeast areas.

In India:

AID (Association for India's Development) is a volunteer group which is registered as a 501 (c) (3) organization in the U.S. that regularly funds grassroots development and human rights groups in India. They have already starting sending emergency funds through their networks, and they send 100% of donated funds. At the moment they are matching donated funds dollar for dollar securely online through sulekha.com at http://www.sulekha.com/aidtsunami. AID is currently doing relief work in the Andamans via SEEDS as well as within the mainland; SEEDS India is one of the few other NGOs operating out of the Andamans and coordinating relief efforts in affected areas (www.seedsindia.org/tsunami). SEEDS has done earthquake relief, rehabilitation, and preparedness work in the past with the UN and the Gujarat government; Solidarity Network: Andaman Islands Relief. The Solidarity Network seems to have substantial leverage beyond typical NGO efforts, partly because it has some Bollywood industry players backing it. The Solidarity Network is working in coordination with military logistics to extend relief work beyond Port Blair to affected areas in both Andaman and Nicobar.

If this event goes well, we’re hoping to turn Dance Relief into an ongoing club night series with benefit parties supporting progressive development organizations. We are planning a large-scale one-year-anniversary event for next year on the weekend before Christmas to bring together as much of the city's talents and resources as possible to the goal of supporting long-term relief and progressive development in affected communities.

For more information, contact Arjun at adirghan AT jhsph DOT edu

The BECT Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Trust - Sri Lanka

The Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT) is a trust registered for the express purpose of conserving Sri Lanka’s biodiversity. The trustees of BECT have now set up a special trust named the BECT Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Trust with the express purpose of assisting, in a tangible and permanent way, some of those who have been badly affected by the recent disaster. The trustees of the BECT Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Trust are Messers Nihal Perera, Shanthi Perera, Lakdis Galabada, and Jayantha Jayewardene. There is provision in the trust deed to increase the number of trustees if necessary.

The Rotary Club of Panadura has agreed to cooperate with the trust and assist in the construction of houses in whatever way they can. Their representative Mr. Shanthi Perera, is also a trustee of the BECT Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Trust.

The trust, through its various contacts both in Sri Lanka and abroad, will collect the funds that are necessary to implement this project.

Donations should be sent to: ‘BECT Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Trust’ Account Number 0111 0000 7235 at the Nations Trust Bank, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 7 Sri Lanka. Bank No. NTBCLKCX

Jayantha Jayewardene
Managing Trustee
Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust
615/32 Rajagiriya Gardens
Nawala Road
Sri Lanka
Phone: 00- 94 -1- 867902
E-mail: romalijj@eureka.lk

Thailand: SOS to the world: Please visit

Three weeks after the tsunami, the country's tourism industry is sending out a different kind of SOS to world travellers _ Please come to Thailand.

Even as Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga and other affected provinces begin repair efforts following the Dec 26 disaster, tourism authorities agree that the economic impact could only worsen the losses unless travellers returned to the area.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects losses of four billion baht per month over the next several months for the six affected provinces. Economic growth forecasts for the year could be cut to just 5.6% from 6.3% due to the tsunami, with some 200,000 jobs in the tourism sector potentially at risk.

In the first two weeks after the disaster, passenger arrivals at Bangkok International Airport fell 30%, while hotels and resorts across the southern provinces reported huge numbers of cancellations, right at the peak of the travel season.

Foreigners wanting to assist tsunami victims could do best by maintaining their travel plans to the area, according to panelists at a seminar held last Friday titled "After the Tsunami: Reviving the Andaman Coast", hosted by the Bangkok Post and Post Today newspapers.

Read the Full Article from The Bangkok Post

Scientists Release Tsunami Effect Data

Boats at sea felt only a gentle swell as the Asian tsunami passed under their hulls — but by the time the first giant wave slammed into Sri Lanka's coast it was a monstrous 15 feet high, scientists say.

A 15-member tsunami research team found that the wave struck with crushing force in some places, yet washed almost gently over the coast just a few hundred yards away, affected by shoreline and seabed features, the scientists said Saturday, releasing preliminary data at a seminar.

Read the Full Article from Yahoo News

Wolfowitz to Visit Sri Lanka

Several local and foriegn media sources report this morning that US Deputy Secretary of Defence, Paul Wolfowitz is set to visit Sri Lanka today.

US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz will arrive in Sri Lanka today to meet Sri Lankan Government officials, tour a tsunami-affected area near Galle and consult with US military commanders working on relief efforts in Sri Lanka.

Wolfowitz will travel with Admiral Thomas Fargo, Commander of the US Pacific Command, the Embassy of the United States of America said yesterday.

Articles -
Daily News Sri Lanka
ABC Radio Australia

Sunday, 16 January, 2005

Nat Geo Documentary Helps Port Worker Save Hundreds of Lives

Abdul Rezzak, a port official on the Andaman island of Teresa, saved hundreds of lives during the tsunami because he remembered two documentaries on tsunamis that he had seen the previous year on the National Geographic Channel. The two documentaries described the warning signs of a tsunami, so when Rezzak realized the port was experiencing these signs, he and his colleagues alerted hundreds of villagers, making them run nearly two kilometers up from shore. Because of Rezzak's actions, only three villagers died during the tsunami.

The IRC needs your help and donations

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) works in 25 countries, and because of the conflict in Indonesia, already had 25 staff members in Aceh, Indonesia, when the tsunami hit. This humanitarian agency has already budgeted $7 million for the next 3 months alone, for tsunami relief.

In Indonesia, five IRC mobile relief teams, with specialists in health, water supply, sanitation and child protection have fanned out across Aceh Province by boat, road and helicopter to deliver emergency services and supplies to some of the hardest hit villages.

The IRC teams are providing urgent medical treatment, stocking remote clinics with medicines, suture kits and bandages, constructing emergency sanitation facilities, bringing in water, cleaning and disinfecting wells, and distributing food, water purification tablets, shelter materials and hygiene supplies. The teams are also arranging for the most critically ill and injured to be evacuated by air to nearby hospitals for further medical treatment.

This work is only just beginning. The IRC has already dispatched 45 international skilled emergency response workers (doctors, nurses, dentists, logisticians, engineers, etc.) to Aceh, and are in the process of hiring 100 nationals.

You can donate to IRC's efforts at their website

Hollywood Stars Stage Tsunami Telethon

Hollywood stars and recording artists from Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis to Madonna and Elton John put their wattage to work on Saturday, raising money for victims of the Asian tsunami disaster in a nationally broadcast telethon.

"Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope" aired on NBC in a live two-hour broadcast in the East as well as a web cast, with a taped version showing in other areas and phone lines staying open through the night for contributions.

No numbers were available by early Sunday on the amounts pledged, but NBC officials said the phone lines (1-800-HELPNOW) had been jammed throughout the show, with the hosts appealing to viewers to use the web site (www.redcross.org) to make donations if their calls did not get through.

Read the Full Article at Yahoo News

[Ed. Although the live show is over the lines are open to accept donations.]

Get Active - Fundraising trends

BERKELEY, CA - January 14, 2005 - With over $350 million donated over the Internet to tsunami disaster relief efforts to date, nonprofit fundraisers are observing four trends in online giving, reports GetActive Software, Inc., a company that provides web-based relationship management services to nonprofits such as CARE USA, Oxfam America and Save the Children USA. GetActive's clients have raised over $30 million online since the disaster struck Southeast Asia:

- a large percentage of relief agency financial support is coming via the

- a vast majority of gifts to relief agencies are from new donors;

- more than half of new online donors are asking to not be contacted again
by relief agencies;

- nonprofits of all sizes are collecting relief funds online.

The most notable online giving trend is that a large percentage of relief agency support is coming via the Internet. Three GetActive clients - Save the Children USA, CARE USA and Oxfam America - are reporting that 31%, 38% and 80% respectively of total tsunami giving have come via their Websites.

GetActive provides services to numerous organizations involved in tsunami disaster relief including: Acumen Fund, CARE USA, Center for Inquiry, Heifer International, NetAid, Oxfam America, Save the Children USA, The Humane Society of the United States, The Shawnee Institute, United Animal Nations,and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

GetActive is closely monitoring fundraising trends in the wake of the tsunami disaster, and makes its findings available online at http://www.getactive.com/tsunamirelief/ .

For more information, visit www.getactive.com or call 202.659.2791.

Michael Stein, GetActive Software
P: (510)-540-4772 x.2105; mstein@getactive.com
Michael Stein | Media & Communications Strategist
GetActive Software, Inc.
2855 Telegraph Ave., Suite 600; Berkeley, CA 94705
v 510 540 4772 ext 2105 | f 510 540 4163
e mstein@getactive.com | www.GetActive.com

Tsunami's Children - 16th January

The most vulnerable victims [Source: CNN.COM]

'Tsunami Generation' braves unprecedented loss, aftermath
Wednesday, January 12, 2005 Posted: 8:40 AM EST (1340 GMT)

"When the water came, I was frightened," recalled Sanga, 12, of the tsunamis that struck in late December. "We ran, and our home is gone."

"All the houses were destroyed, all the dresses," added Sujeewa Samarasingha, another orphan living in the southern Sri Lanka temple. "We are very, very sad."

Sleeping 40 to a room, these children are both supremely unfortunate and fortunate. They face extreme challenges -- physical, psychological and otherwise -- in the coming months. But they are alive, having survived a disaster that took thousands of lives including, in many cases, their parents, siblings and friends.

From Thailand to Somalia, more than 150,000 people died in the tsunamis. The United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) first estimated children made up one-third of the death toll. But Charles J. Lyons, president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, said that percentage, if anything, might be too low.

In many hard-hit countries, birth rates tend to be high and life expectancies low -- 30 to 43 percent of residents are age 18 or below -- so children fatality rates somewhat mirror the population breakdown. Beyond that, children are generally more vulnerable than adults -- smaller, weaker and more susceptible to nature's fury and disease.

"Children are much less able to run away, fight the water, hold onto or climb a tree," said Lyons. "Adults that were stronger were more likely to survive; the youngest were simply unable to."

Yet, amid the tragedy, remarkable events left room for hope and faith.

Off Thailand's Khao Lak tourist resort, a woman discovered an 18-month-old boy from Kazakhstan floating on a mattress. His parents are thought to have perished.

Twenty-day-old Suppiah Tulasi also survived. Her parents found her lying on a mattress in 5 feet of water hours after waves flushed them from a Penang, Malaysia, restaurant.

Seattle, Washington, residents Ron Rubin and Rebecca Beddall climbed to the roof of their hotel in Phuket, Thailand, where they spotted 18-month-old Hannes Bergstrom. They took the Swedish boy -- rescued reportedly with the help of a Thai princess -- to a local hospital. Hannes eventually rejoined his father and other relatives. His mother remains missing.

"He had a toy, and he kept squeezing it and he was talking," said Beddall, recalling video showing the reunion. "When we had him, he was not playing and he was not talking. So it made us very happy to see him normal again."

Tsunami 'moves' land surface: 15th January

Port Blair moves 1.15 m away from India

[Subhra Priyadarshini in Port Blair]

The capital of Andaman and Nicobar islands, Port Blair, has shifted by over one metre after the killer earthquake and Tsunami of December 26, a preliminary survey data has revealed.

A team of surveyors from the Survey of India, compiling scientific readings from across the Andaman and Nicobar islands, has discovered that its Port Blair control point had shifted towards the south-eastern side by 1.15 metres from its earlier position.

"The sea has also recorded a not-so-significant drop of 25 cm from its earlier level at the Port Blair control point, which leads us to infer that there could be some subsidence also," Surveyor General of India Prithvis Nag told PTI on Saturday.

However, the mean sea level has also increased by 1.5 m post-tsunami, he said.

A seven-member team of the survey body studying the latitude, longitude and height at 20 of its control points in the islands would compile the final data, which would be released at an international conference on disaster management on January 21, he said.
[Source : REDIFF.COM]

Saturday, 15 January, 2005

UN: Nearly 3 weeks after tsunami, relief effort going 'reasonably well'

Nearly three weeks after a massive tsunami devastated a dozen Indian Ocean countries, top United Nations officials today said relief operations were going reasonably well, called reports of child exploitation exaggerated, and hammered home the urgent need for an early warning system to save thousands of lives in the future.

"I am happy that my call for a global early warning system has been enthusiastically supported," Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a news briefing in Mauritius, where he attended a meeting on small island developing States at which he proposed such a system not only for tsunamis but for other natural disasters as well.

Read the Full Article at UN News Centre
Global Early Warning System

Fundraiser concert in Los Altos, California

From email from a blog reader:
Sankara Eye Foundation presents Jyothi2020 - An Evening of Kathak in aid of tsunami victims.

Details: Saturday, Jan 29th, 5pm to 8pm, Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos, CA 94022. Ticket Prices : $10, $15, $25. You can buy tickets online here.
or call 866-SANKARA.

Face Matching Software needed

Sanjiva, one of the developers of the Sahana Crisis Management Software writes the following in his blog entry today.

Do you know of software to match faces? The Sri Lanka government is going to set up a place where people can bring pictures of missing folks and can have it matched against the photos of dead bodies from the tsunami. The photos will be scanned and placed in the Sahana system we're building and the matching software can run within Sahana or outside if necessary. Ideally the software is open source and free but at this point we need something very quickly. So anything will do ..
Any pointers will be greatly appreciated; I've been asked to get this operational within 10 days or so.
If the anyone can help these guys out, We're sure it will help the overall development of the system. we earlier wrote about their call for PHP and JAVA developers.

Singapore: Re-Building the Communities

In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, the Singapore International Foundation is working on various fronts to respond to the needs of the communities affected by the massive destruction. SIF's focus is on the long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction process ahead, in helping communities build a life and future for themselves.

Towards this end, we have set up the Tsunami-Affected Communities Fund (TAC Fund) and our target is to raise a minimum of S$1.5 million. The funds collected will be channelled to re-building as well as disaster mitigation projects and used to provide sanitation, clean water housing, healthcare and community care

Read more about their efforts here

Tsunami scam arrest in Pennsylvania

In the first arrest in a nationwide crackdown on tsunami relief scams, the FBI took a Carrick man into custody yesterday morning on charges of flooding the Internet with spam solicitations for a bogus relief fund so he could pay to fix his car.

Matthew Z. Schmieder, 24, who lives in a rented brick duplex on Crailo Street, admitted to the FBI that he sent out 800,000 e-mails purporting to be from the Mercy Corps, an international group of humanitarian agencies, according to an affidavit.

Schmieder confessed to lifting images from the Mercy Corps Web site to use in spam messages and trying to fool donors into sending him money through a PayPal account he established, the FBI said.

Read more here

Beacon of Light Candlelight Vigil

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that” The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In support of the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Asia, and in commemoration of the birthday of social justice hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., Oxfam America invites you to participate in the Beacon of Light Candlelight Vigil.

The vigils are part of the National Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. During the week of King’s birthday, Jan. 17 through Jan. 23, Oxfam asks friends like you to help our neighbors in Asia. You can be a beacon of light in these difficult times.

By selling candles, we’ll raise money for the Tsunami Response and Global Emergencies Fund. By lighting the candles, we’ll stand together as one global community united in the aftermath.

Oxfam America invites you to organize a Beacon of Light Candlelight Vigil in your community. Visit Oxfam’s special vigil site at www.oxfamamerica.org/vigil to read more about how to organize your own vigil and download flyers, candle tags, and more.