Tsunami Death Toll Reaches 68,000 – More Deaths Expected from Disease
The Indian Ocean based Tsunami which demolished the families and coast lines of several Asian countries on Sunday morning has resulted in an estimated death toll of over 68,000 people according to a recently released report by Rueters. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand’s Southern Provinces, Burma/Myanmar, Malaysia, and India among other nations have been ravished by the tsunami, which was caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, spreading its wake across the Indian Ocean and even to the African coast.
I’ve been thinking about ways to help today with my work colleagues and my wife, and have decided to donate a base sum of $100 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched a preliminary appeal for 7.5 million Swiss francs ($6,618,425.50) to assist some 500,000 people and bring immediate support to relief operations of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and other countries in the region after the strongest earthquake in 40 years caused massive tidal waves, killing at least 68,000 people to date.
Two of my major worries when donating to relief funds is “Where is that money going?” and “How much of it will get there?” After reading that the US Government will be donating over $35 million dollars to relief, my first thought is “How much of that money will be funneled through Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. and even Land O Lakes?” and my second thought is that once supplies are received in Indonesia, Somalia and Sri Lanka, how much of it will become the property of local warlords and rebel groups. Not to mention numerous warring factions in these countries, as the StarTribune.com reports:
“In the Indian Ocean nation of Sri Lanka and Indonesia’s western Aceh Province, bitter conflicts threaten to slow even further the painstaking work of locating victims, repairing infrastructure and caring for hundreds of thousands of refugees, according to relief workers and regional experts.
Tuesday, the Sri Lankan government and the rebel Tamil Tigers, two foes who have fought a two-decade civil war that has split large areas of the country, traded barbs over the relief efforts and refused to work together, instead launching competing relief efforts.”
The International Federation has already sent medical supplies for 100,000 people into Sri Lanka, the country hardest hit by the disaster, from Copenhagen, Denmark. Additionally medicines to treat up to 2,000 possible cases of diarrheal disease will also be part of the shipment. “The biggest health challenges we are facing is the spread of waterborne diseases, particularly malaria and diarrhea, as well as respiratory tract infections,” explains Hakan Sandbladh, Senior Health Officer at the Federation’s Secretariat in Geneva.
“Basic needs for victims of the disaster are shelter, tents, blankets, clean water, food and family utensils and mosquito nets. An important part of the operation will also be tracing lost relatives,” notes Simon Missiri, head of the Federation’s Asia Pacific Department in Geneva. “This preliminary appeal will be revised as precise needs are evaluated.”
However, more help is needed. The Search Engine Journal is calling on all readers, bloggers, site owners, and whomever else to help this International effort in any way possible. This is possibly the largest disaster in modern history, with potential to reach deaths in numbers of well over 100,000 by the time disease sets in and all missing persons are accounted for. I was reading a piece today on InternetNews about the on location reporting by many bloggers and even some bloggers donating their advertising profits to different relief funds.
A group of Indian bloggers launched a community blog called The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami, where they were sharing information about how to lend a hand.
The site included an appeal from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who asked for donations through the office’s National Relief Fund. In a statement posted on the blog, he said thousands of people have lost their lives and property worth scores of rupees has been damaged. He appealed to all citizens to donate generously.
So, here’s what we propose. Each reader who donates to a disaster or relief fund, or represents one please leave a comment below this story. It’s quite easy, just leave your name, email, and site address, that way you can spread more word about your organization or site’s efforts to help. I will also issue six month’s worth of advertising on the right side BlogAds strip of this blog to the site which donates the most to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of donation by January 15th. The largest donor to the International relief effort will be chosen and blogged about on the Search Engine Journal.
How can you donate to these foundations, visit the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or the American Red Cross to do so and for more information.