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The Seychelles Calls For Aid


The Seychelles Calls For Aid

The small Republic of the Seychelles is still counting the cost of the Boxing Day Tsunami - with thousands of people still unaccounted for and the President, James Michel, calling for international assistance.

Aid has been slow to reach the country with commercial flights suspended and most charitable funds focusing relief efforts on the larger nations closer to the epicentre.

Olsen Vidot, Principle Secretary of the Local Government of the Seychelles, expressed a concern that they had not heard from inhabitants from many of its outer-lying islands. "Some of the smaller islands have between 50 - 100 people on." He said.

The Seychelles consists of 115 islands and lies in the western part of the Indian Ocean - 1593 km East of Kenya, 2813 km South West of India and 925 km North East of Madagascar.

Local Government relief workers struggle to reach the worst-stricken islands and efforts hampered by land-slides and torrential rain experienced over the last 48 hours.

"The picture is complicated because the disaster is spread over such a wide region. Many of the countries with larger populations are able to mobilise aid quicker." Says Mr Vidot.

The small island nation remains vulnerable, as the islands are flat, averaging 1.5 metres above sea level. Much of the capital, Mahe, remains under several feet of water.

Communicable diseases are a further problem to the small island nation, with the local emergency brigades lacking many of the basic supplies.

President Michel later met with some of the evacuated families, housed over night at the Coral Strand hotel.

"The situation is tragic as two disasters have struck us one after the other. It's the force of nature and we cannot do anything to prevent it, it happens. What is important is that we need to have the courage, we need to be brave and determined, when nature strikes us, so we are able to deal with its aftermath and to rebuild," said the President.

And while an appeal is being made for international assistance to cope with the after effects of the two floods, President Michel acknowledged that the main international focus is on harder hit countries.

"We have asked for international support and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and ambassadors are trying to help."

New Zealanders wishing to donate can do so via internet banking to the 'Indian Ocean Aid Fund', Account Number: 03-0207-0234330-00 or by visiting http://www.seychelles.org.nz. Those people wanting to find relatives or friends in the Seychelles can contact the Fund care of Ozone Barter at 0800 469663.

THE SEYCHELLES Seychelles is an archipelago which lies in the western part of the Indian Ocean - 1593 km East of Kenya, 2813 km South West of India and 925 km North East of Madagascar. It consists of 115 islands, of which 76 are coralline and the remaining are granitic.

The estimated population is 80,000 people.

The Tidal Wave of the 26th December 2004 was the first ever in known history to hit the islands.

DONATIONS TO THE SEYCHELLES Orcon Internet and Ozone Barter have jointly formed the Indian Ocean Aid Fund to assist the people of the Seychelles.

We are urgently calling for donations for the people of the Islands. Donations and more information can be made by visiting http://www.seychelles.org.nz (which has further instructions on credit card donations, fax, phone and internet banking donations).

Money donated goes directly to the local government disaster relief fund in the Seychelles where it is managed by the Seychelles Ministry of Local Government, Sports and Culture. The Ministry is responsible for co-ordinating all 25 Emergency District Brigades throughout the country and assessing the needs of the local people throughout the islands.

ABOUT ORCON INTERNET Founded in 1995, Orcon Internet has grown to become New Zealands forth largest supplier of internet services. In 2004 it won the Netguide "Best ISP of the Year" award. Seeby Woodhouse, Managing Director of the privately held company, is the current holder of the Adilam Young, Young Achievers Award.

More information can be found at http://www.orcon.net.nz.

ABOUT OZONE BARTER LIMITED Ozone Barter Limited is the second largest barter exchange in New Zealand. The company assists businesses move surplus products or services which are on-sold for 'trade credits'. These trade credits can then be used by Ozone members to buy goods and services they need - thus helping to reduce their cash costs and increasing their overall sales turn-over.

More information can be found at http://www.ozone.net.nz

http://www.maldives.co.nz / http://www.seychelles.org.nz

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