World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Launches Flash Appeal For Tsunami Victims


UN Launches Unprecedented Multiple Effort To Aid Victims Of Asia's Devastating Tsunami

The United Nations today rushed in more aid to the victims of the devastating tsunami that struck south Asia as it prepared to launch a flash appeal in what relief officials called an unprecedented effort by the world body to forestall the dangers of disease threatening millions of people.

"An enormous relief effort is on its way," UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said, as UN Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) teams fanned out to the stricken countries and local branches of the world body's various agencies began releasing emergency material.

This tsunami "is not the biggest in recorded history, but the effects may be the biggest ever because many more people live in exposed areas than ever before," he told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, appealing to donor countries to respond generously to what he called a "tremendous emergency."

While "the first wave" of the disaster has already brought tens of thousands of casualties, Mr. Egeland stressed the "second wave" - the after-effects which will affect millions of people. "Drinking water for millions has been polluted," he said. "Disease will be a result of that and also acute respiratory disease always comes in the wake of disasters."

He paid tribute to local relief bodies in the affected nations for their immediate response to the catastrophe, estimated that total costs would be in "the many billions of dollars," and stressed that it was imperative to have a tsunami early warning system established in the Indian Ocean.

The Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator and Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Yvette Stevens told a news conference in Geneva that that the situation was particularly challenging given that widespread disaster has occurred in several countries. The UN was "used to dealing with disasters in one country," she said. "But I think something like this spread across many countries and islands is unprecedented. We have not had this before."

She added that the UN would launch a flash appeal in the coming days to fund aid to all the affected regions, where media reports put the latest death toll at over 20,000, with more than 10,000 in Sri Lanka alone.

In Sri Lanka, the UN refugee agency opened up its relief stockpiles to deliver immediate emergency assistance to the Indian Ocean island, where thousands were killed, injured or displaced by the catastrophe.

"The magnitude of this disaster is so enormous and shocking that we will do everything we can to join the international community in bringing help as rapidly as possible to the victims of these gigantic waves," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers said. "Our supplies are usually for displaced people, but this is an emergency and the local population needs help right now."

At an emergency meeting today with the Government and other UN agencies in the country's capital, Colombo, it was decided that UNHCR would concentrate on delivering relief items in the east of the country, where it has offices and access in a region that has been torn by a war with Tamil separatists.

Overall, UNHCR has seven offices in Sri Lanka, where it has worked for nearly two decades helping displaced populations as well as returning refugees.

The agency will provide 18,000 pieces of plastic sheeting, 17,000 plastic mats, rope, and non-food relief packages for 2,000 families, including cooking sets, plastic jerry cans, mosquito nets and clothing.

Stichting Vluchteling, a Dutch non-governmental organization (NGO) that works closely with UNHCR on refugee programmes, today told UNHCR it would cover at least $200,000 of the approximate $280,000 cost of the relief items through its special fund-raising efforts for the disaster victims.

The agency will also assist the UN country team in strengthening the Government's response to the disaster and actively support emergency coordination at the district level.

OCHA has already deployed UNDAC teams to Sri Lanka and the Maldives to work closely with national governments and relief workers in coordinating support from all over the world, and plans are underway to send additional teams to Indonesia and Thailand.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news