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Relief for Asian quake-tsunami-hit areas gears up
www.chinaview.cn 2005-01-01 10:03:31

Related: Asian Tsunamis Disaster

 Relief are gearing up for the regions that were hit worst by a powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunamis last Sunday as the death toll is rolling up over 130,000 while thousands of the injured and other survivors along the coasts are badly in need of medicine, food and water.
 Relief are gearing up for the regions that were hit worst by a powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunamis last Sunday as the death toll is rolling up over 130,000 while thousands of the injured and other survivors along the coasts are badly in need of medicine, food and water. (Photo: Xinhua)

    HONG KONG, Dec. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Relief are gearing up for the regions that were hit worst by a powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunamis last Sunday as the death toll is rolling up over 130,000 while thousands of the injured and other survivors along the coasts are badly in need of medicine, food and water.

    The Indonesian government said Friday it has streamlined procedures for the entry of foreign aircraft and ships bringing relief supplies to tsunami-hit Aceh.

    "Now we have two planes belonging to the Australian Air Force at the Iskandar Muda Airport in Aceh. We welcome all foreign assistance and apply the open-sky policy because of the massive-scale disaster," Foreign Affairs Ministry's spokesman Yuri Thamrinsaid.

    He said several other countries have offered to send ships serving as floating hospitals into Aceh. They include the United States, India and Germany.

    Indian military said that it also deployed two more ships to Indonesia to help with relief operations, including one converted into a 50-bed hospital with facilities to carry out surgical operations.

    A US aircraft carrier and a flotilla of ships are steaming to Thailand to set up a base to coordinate aid for the region.

    In Sri Lanka, a convoy of five trucks from the UN World Food Program began distributing more than 100 tons of sugar, lentils and rice in the Tamil rebel-controlled north.

    According to the United Nations, a total of 887.7 million US dollars has been pledged by foreign countries and regions as well as financial institutions in the past couple of days. Donation campaigns are being organized in various corners of the world for the major devastated nations including Indonesia, Thailand, India,Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

    On Friday, Indonesia announced that a special international meeting on the aftermath of the Asian earthquake and tsunamis hereon Jan. 6 to discuss strategies for overcoming the catastrophe andraising more aid.

    The conference is expected to be attended by leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the heads of government/state and special envoys from some 19 countries and four world organizations.

    The UN refugee agency said it would start an airlift to Indonesia on Sunday, flying in over 400 tons of supplies includingtents, blankets and jerry cans to help 100,000 people in Aceh.

    A 35-member rescue team from China arrived in the North Sumatracapital of Medan Friday to join the international relief efforts in Aceh province where more than 80,000 people were killed in earthquake-triggered tsunami.

    The team comprises medical workers, rescue crews and geologistsand has brought seven tons of medical equipment.

    In India's worst-hit state of Tamil Nadu, where the death toll has climbed to 6,238 Friday, the relief operation has also been geared up. A total of 373 relief camps have been set up to provideaccommodation and food to around 300,000 people in the 591 coastalvillages.

    According to the official who is in charge of the disaster relief operation in Tamil Nadu, about 500 doctors have been sent to affected areas to provide medicine and vaccine to needy people.Materials like bleaching powder and lime have been sent to the affected areas to prevent an outbreak of epidemics.

    A large number of earth moving equipment have been mobilized and sent to Nagapattinam and Kanniyakumari districts to remove obstacles and extricate dead bodies.

    Helicopter was also used to lift the dead bodies from Chinnavaikkal island of Cuddalore coast.

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday the centralgovernment was committed to providing all help for the relief and rehabilitation of the tsunami-hit people.

    The central government has announced an immediate allocation of5 billion rupees (116 million US dollars) for the National Calamity Contingency Fund towards relief and rehabilitation in theaffected states.

    In Thailand, relief work continued with the pour in of more rescue personnel and donation. More than 5,000 soldiers have been sent to join 20,000 local officials and volunteers in rescue and relief operations in the affected provinces. About 100 prisoners with good record also joined the search for dead bodies.

    At hospitals, doctors are racing against time to prevent the wounds of tsunami victims from becoming infected.

    According to the Interior Ministry, by Friday morning, confirmed death toll in the tsunamis has soared to 4,510 with 9,849 injuries and 6,475 reported missing.

    Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej started by donating 30 million baht (714,000 US dollars) to the Rajaprajanukroh Foundation.

    The government has transferred 10 million baht each to the governors of Phuket and Phang Nga, 7 million baht to the governor of Krabi and 5 billion baht to the governor of Rayong to help victims of the disaster. Enditem

    

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