TSUNAMI UPDATE

The toll now stands at 125,282. More than 80,000 Indonesians are reported killed. Sri Lanka has lost 27,268.

About 6,000 foreign tourists are missing, including 2,000 Scandinavians, 1,000 Germans, 1,000 Australians and 600 Italians. More than 2,000 tourists have died. The official British toll is 26, but fears are held for more than 100. Sweden’s government has been criticised for the slowness of its response; 54 Swedes were killed, and foreign minister Laila Freivalds admits “we didn’t fully understand the scale of how many people would be injured and dead.”

Few did. Australia’s aid contribution has been increased to $60 million, and many Australian companies have made substantial donations:

Visy Industries and the Pratt family: $1 million to CARE Australia.

BHP Billiton: $641,000 (the company will also match staff donations)

Lonely Planet publications: $500,000

Woolworths: $500,000

ANZ Bank: $260,000

Commonwealth Bank: $250,000

Australia Post: $250,000

Wesfarmers: $250,000

Rio Tinto Australia: $154,000

Westpac: $100,000 (plus matching staff donations)

National Australia Bank: $100,000

The Red Cross has established a website to help trace missing people. Several other search-and-assist sites are listed here. Colorado’s Mike Weatherford e-mails:

If there’s anyone in the disaster area from Colorado, and if they can find a blogger where they are (there seem to be a handful in every city in Asia), they can email me, and I’ll call and let people know they’re ok. I think there are hundreds of other bloggers that would assist. We need someone to coordinate names and contact points for survivors.

We have a huge number of Christian relief groups in Colorado Springs. If any reputable blogger will email me with specific needs, I’ll try to contact local charities to fill them. We also have a Reserve airlift unit here, so we may even be able to speed things up a bit. I’ve commented about this kind of help on my website.

Goths care. The pale and solemn guys at Enmore Station are organising a goth/industrial/darkwave tsunami fundraiser at Sydney’s Club 77 next Wednesday. All power to Enmore Station and their Dark Master. Robert Corr urges Perth readers to donate non-perishable food, milk powder and medicine at the Ceylon Style Cafe in East Victoria Park, and tsunami video archivist Pundit Guy will contribute 50% of donations to his site to the Red Cross.

UPDATE. Bryan Chaffin reports that Apple Computer has dedicated its home page to disaster relief for tsunami victims. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Red Cross appeal – helped along by an early Instaboost – has now raised more than SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS.

UPDATE II. Stories of Thai heroism emerge: “One Australian survivor spoke of a small Thai man on a water tower who saved several people by snatching them as they swept by him out to sea. With impossible strength, and at great personal risk, he dragged them from the torrent and certain death.”

UPDATE III. More than 500 French citizens are missing and 22 are listed as dead. France has now increased its aid to $57 million. Britain’s contribution has tripled, now set at $95 million, and Sweden is in for $75.5 million. Earlier misreporting of France’s contribution led to unfair comparisons.

UPDATE IV. The Americans are coming:

A US carrier battle group headed for Indonesia’s Aceh province today to spearhead an unprecedented multinational military effort to assist the survivors of last weekend’s quake and tsunami.

A second US Marine strike group from the Pacific territory of Guam was on its way to Sri Lanka with water, food and medical supplies.

The Nimitz class nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and four other ships will take up position off Aceh tonight, US navy officials said.

The Guam group, headed by the USS Bonhomme Richard, – specially designed to carry land men and equipment under difficult conditions – will arrive off Sri Lanka within a week, they added.

UPDATE V. British swamp hog Clare Short wants the Americans to go away:

“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.

UPDATE VI. Finland, a nation of only five million, has raised four million dollars. Italians have donated $17 million via a mobile phone texting system. A British charity group hoovered in $39 million within 24 hours. As of noon Thursday, the US Red Cross had collected $18 million.

UPDATE VII. Americans have privately contributed more than $127 million. The ABC’s Leigh Sales – who two days ago complained that “while the US Government is so far giving $44 million to the tsunami victims, the National Retail Federation here predicts Americans will spend more than $200 billion on presents, food and holiday sales this Christmas” – remains unimpressed:

The United States gives more cash than any other nation, but isn’t particularly generous when you look at its contributions as a percentage of its Gross National Product.

Posted by Tim B. on 12/31/2004 at 05:30 PM
    1. rob corr’s got the right idea with the food and medicine deal. at least you know that the aid charity fat-cats wont be wanting to chow down on powdered milk and malaria medicine.

      Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2004 12 31 at 06:45 PM • permalink

 

    1. Interesting article in ‘The Times Of India’ that is questioning how underestimated the death toll may be:

      Is India underestimating its tsunami dead?

      Posted by CJosephson on 2004 12 31 at 06:59 PM • permalink

 

    1. Bernama has run a story quoting the Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia as saying that the “death toll in Acheh, the region worst hit by last Sunday’s tsunami, may exceed 400,000 as many affected areas could still not be reached for search and rescue operations.”

      An Indonesian colleague has just walked out my office door to catch a flight back to Aceh to find her family. She’s tough and has seen more murder and mayhem than most, but I wonder if even she will cope with what lies ahead. What could I do but hug and cry with her?

      Posted by Hanyu on 2004 12 31 at 07:46 PM • permalink

 

    1. Also, now that I’ve stopped blubbering, thanks for posting the list of corporate donors. Lonely Planet has excelled with $500,000 and I’ll remember this extraordinary contribution for many years to come. US companies have promised hundreds of millions so far, with Pfizer alone coughing up a total of $35 million (10 in cash and 25 in products). Numerous others have done the same as Apple – which you listed – or are involved in providing cash or kind. The politicisation of giving and aid – a-la Clare Short – is laughable in the face of this outpouring of assistance.

      Posted by Hanyu on 2004 12 31 at 07:54 PM • permalink

 

    1. ABC 7.30 report tonight is still running the line that the rich western countries only decide to give more after some prompting. 
      This sort of spin or misrepresentation should not be happening on a supposedly objective and nationally funded broadcaster.
      The appreciation of the situation is quite obviously a developing one and the assessment of the aid required is developing too. I am disgusted by the ABC’s failure to de-politicise its reporting of this and many other events.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2004 12 31 at 08:49 PM • permalink

 

    1. I hope that Aceh figure is wrong. Please let it be wrong.

      Hanyu, I’ve been blubbering too, don’t feel bad about it.

      It’s great to see companies and countries coming through in this time of absolute disaster. Give them all time to get their heads around it and they’ll come through and that’s what has happened. I think the donations will get even bigger in the next few days.

      Thanks for the mention Tim, you’ve done a great job getting the word out through this whole disaster. For what it’s worth, Enmore Station salutes you.

      We are heading out to promote our thing tonight, we have a captive audience. One of the DJ’s who we’ve just gotten in on the event has friends who are missing.

      Thanks.

      Posted by EnmoreJoe on 2004 12 31 at 09:00 PM • permalink

 

    1. The presents were already purchased before the farging tsunami. Americans will step up to the plate as we always do. Lord, I’m sick of this crap.

       

      Posted by PatrickPrescott on 2004 12 31 at 09:38 PM • permalink

 

    1. Patrick, I’m sure the US will too.

      Posted by EnmoreJoe on 2004 12 31 at 10:01 PM • permalink

 

    1. It’s mostly a lack of sophistication on the part of those who are counting up the money- they measure cash, not total outlay.  It would be interesting to see totals based not just on cash, but commitment of personnel, transport, support, etc.  Then, of course, there will be the real relief package, which must go through congress, and is certain to have all those lovely zeros the professional bitching crowd is currently wailing over.

      Or it could be they hate Americans and just can’t help saying stupid things.

      In the end it won’t matter.  Actions speak louder than words, and I guess I shouldn’t be reacting to this stuff.  Got to keep the focus where it belongs.

      Posted by John in NH on 2004 12 31 at 10:25 PM • permalink

 

    1. I would prefer to see personal charitable contributions outweighing beurocrat transfers.

      That really shows you which countries care.

      Of course if you are taxed towards poverty then you have less to donate.

      Anyway, apologies from the UK for Clare Short’s continued C02 pollution.  She doesn’t understand that if someone’s helping when they don’t have to, you say thanks…

      Posted by Rob Read on 2004 12 31 at 10:50 PM • permalink

 

    1. Strange how whenever aid is mentioned, the US contribution is always represented as a %age of GDP, in an obvious attempt to make it look smaller, yet when military spending is mentioned it suddenly becomes an absolute figure rather than GDP %age, (which is otherwise quite a reasonable amount).

      FYI, my company, a US bank, and not one of the biggest by any means, has given $1.5 million to various charities for dealing with this disaster.

      Posted by Ian on 2005 01 01 at 12:35 AM • permalink

 

    1. Incidentally as a %age of government spending on foreign aid, the US is exceedingly “generous” with it’s taxpayers money.

      Room for tax cuts?

      Posted by Rob Read on 2005 01 01 at 12:45 AM • permalink

 

    1. …and now in English!

      The US Government is a much smaller percentage of GDP than say the Nordic countries.

      The US foreign aid contribution is a higher percentage of the State budget.

      Stingy?  No, the US trusts it’s own citizens more to spend their own money.

      Posted by Rob Read on 2005 01 01 at 12:48 AM • permalink

 

    1. Which is the way it should be.

      Posted by Mr. Blue on 2005 01 01 at 02:34 AM • permalink

 

    1. The US Navy has a tradition of this kind of disaster-relief.  For example, in 1922, it was a US battleship docked in Yokohama that provided electrical generation, fresh water and medical care to that earthquake-levelled city.

      Of course, the scale of this effort is unprecedented, and speaks volumes about the quality of the service that they could allocate for, plan and dispatch these forces on such short notice.  No other country in the world has this level of capability, or offers it so freely.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 01 01 at 02:53 AM • permalink

 

    1. People are also starting to wonder about Burma/Myanmar—the military junta is claiming the death toll is—ahem—only 56 people! If we ever learn the real numbers, the count could as much as double.  =(

      Posted by KipEsquire on 2005 01 01 at 03:26 AM • permalink

 

    1. The media-fueled ‘race to the top’ in terms of who has given how much gets it all wrong. There is little point having massive amounts of relief supplies choking up distribution points if there is little capacity to deliver it. Yes, give please generously but make sure what you give can be delivered to those who need it most. The capacity to distribute the aid effectively is much more important. There should not be a contest to determine who has given the most by the end of the first week. The needs of tsunami survivors will stretch over months and years, well after the international media spotlight has moved on. Give a bit now, and give a bit more in a few months time to help people rebuild their lives and communities for the longer term.

      Posted by mikedc2 on 2005 01 01 at 03:38 AM • permalink

 

    1. As an American, I am getting very close to despair at the way much of the world treats us. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Here it is less than one week after this disaster and the invective is already being hurled in America’s direction.

      I can understand criticism of Iraq, though I disagree, but to use this horrible natural cataclysm to attack my nation is beyond my ability to comprehend. If this sort of attitude continues much longer I’m afraid my country will either give-up or go crazy. Either outcome will leave all of us screwed, blued, and tattooed.

      Posted by G Hamid USA on 2005 01 01 at 03:47 AM • permalink

 

    1. In their zeal to add fuel to the fire of the hate-America movement, the mainstream media have completely missed the real story of this disaster which is the spontaneous outpouring on a global scale of ordinary people reaching out to help their fellow human beings in need.

      It’s the blogosphere in action, and we’re in on the beginning.  Wireless internet access will bring the world together in a way that transcends geography.  We don’t know where we’ll end up, but we’re logging on and ready to go.

      Brave New World.  Bring it on.

       

      Posted by blerp on 2005 01 01 at 04:05 AM • permalink

 

    1. Ian that’s because of the spin to make Europe seem great.  Europe can ill afford to publish its defense spending in %GDP because it is ridiculously low.  Yet another free pass via the good ole USA.

      Posted by Mike SC USA on 2005 01 01 at 04:06 AM • permalink

 

    1. Terrorists are next.

      Posted by J. Peden on 2005 01 01 at 04:10 AM • permalink

 

    1. My wife, no right winger, is so pissed at these “America is stingy” people she can hardly see straight.

      Posted by Andrew on 2005 01 01 at 04:14 AM • permalink

 

    1. Thanks for the updates Tim.

      Posted by shakespeare_101 on 2005 01 01 at 05:50 AM • permalink

 

    1. Check out the latest couple of articles at The Diplomad, http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/ .  One of the guys running the blog is actually involved in the relief effort.  He’s got quite a strong and negative opinion of a reporter with another “America is stingy” story and of the UN’s relief efforts.

      Posted by Jeremy on 2005 01 01 at 05:50 AM • permalink

 

    1. In Clare Short’s version of the story, the Good Samaritan tilts his head in sympathy as he walks by on his way to donate at the nearest Roman outpost.

      Posted by Bryan C on 2005 01 01 at 05:54 AM • permalink

 

    1. Teaming up with India (as the US, Australia and Japan have done) to help get relief to the tsunami victims is about the only way we’ll be able to help the victims in parts of the area India declared off limits to foreigners:

      “Rescue workers in the archipelago believe thousands of uncounted bodies remain in the debris ….” 
      “Foreigners are banned from the archipelago for security reasons because of its large air force post and for protection of its indigenous community and India has so far refused requests by international aid groups trying to bring help to the islands.”

      Since India is a member of the coalition we will be able to get aid to these islands via India.

      full article here:

      Death toll from tsunami disaster passes 121,000
      Hopefully, the relief coalition will also be able to find ways to overcome ‘separatist rebels’ in Banda Aceh who have been shooting at truck convoys trying to deliver aid.

      article here:

      World’s largest relief effort in SE Asia

      (About 9 paragraphs down is the part about rebels.) 
      The coalition should be able to deal with these impediments much better than the UN would be able to. It’s too bad there are these barriers to aid, but they exist and we have to find the fastest ways to get around them. The UN doesn’t have a great track record on finding fast ways to deal with anything.

      Posted by CJosephson on 2005 01 01 at 06:03 AM • permalink

 

    1. I wonder if Europeans would be willing to give up their shorter weeks and extra holidays so they would have more GDP to spend on the next disaster. 😛 Or are they too selfish!

      Posted by drscroogemcduck on 2005 01 01 at 06:18 AM • permalink

 

    1. Flash Bush pledges $350,000,000 USD sez to world: “Either Put up or shut up!”

      Posted by Mike SC USA on 2005 01 01 at 07:30 AM • permalink

 

    1. If this sort of attitude continues much longer I’m afraid my country will either give-up or go crazy. Either outcome will leave all of us screwed, blued, and tattooed.

      Not to worry, Hamid.  The nastiness is hurtful, but Americans just don’t know how to give up, and we disagree with just about everybody (except Australians) about what crazy is.  Ain’t gonna happen.  We just don’t know how.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 01 01 at 08:38 AM • permalink

 

    1. Just read that Canada joined the coalition.  It guess that’s where the other couple of hundred million is coming from.  Not.

      Where is the information about what Muslim countries are contributing?  Anyone seen the totals on that?

      Posted by blerp on 2005 01 01 at 08:40 AM • permalink

 

    1. The American Taxpayers have now pledged 350 million.  That is in addition to the 120+ million pledge through not taxed donations.

      Posted by billrob458 on 2005 01 01 at 08:48 AM • permalink

 

    1. I wonder if Clare Short will have another comment now.

      The United Nations was added Thursday to the core group of countries and organizations planning relief efforts.

      Posted by PW on 2005 01 01 at 09:40 AM • permalink

 

    1. Thanks RebeccaH, of course you’re right. Sometimes I just get really frustrated.

      And thanks always, Australia. Better friends a nation cannot have.

      Posted by G Hamid USA on 2005 01 01 at 09:45 AM • permalink

 

    1. “I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN…”

      Earth to Ms. Short: Kofi Annan returned Thursday from a ski vacation in Jackson Hole. In his prolonged, bizarre absence, someone had to take the “initiative” to provide coordinated relief.

      P.S. America doesn’t like you either, Clare.

      Posted by Butch on 2005 01 01 at 10:21 AM • permalink

 

    1. I too would like to see a list of donations from Arab nations.

      Of course *some* sections of the tsunami areas are larfely non-Islamic, so the Islamic countries probably have little interest in helping them.

      When/if they do donate anything of substance, just wait for the price of oil to rise soon after so the Evil West ends up footing the bill.

      Posted by Jim Riley on 2005 01 01 at 12:29 PM • permalink

 

    1. Take a look at Bush-hater         (sorry – journalist)
      Roy Eccelston’s use of the tragedy to attack Bush (I guess he figured that he may as well get some mileage out of 120,000 dead)

      Roy Eccelston

      Yesterday he had a news article where he slipped in the ‘only gave more after they were accused of stingeness’ line of accusation. Today we see him express it full tilt in this opinion piece.

      Some quotes:

      GEORGE W. Bush has been hamfisted in his handling of the US response to the tsunami disaster, looking more like a bystander than leader of the free world.

      Clare Short attacks because he organises a major relief coalition and Eccelston attacks because apparently he’s acting like a bystander! Come on guys, get your act together, which is it? too much or not enough….?

      In the interim, Bush stayed on holiday at his Texas ranch, where aides say he monitored the growing catastrophe– and spent time clearing scrub

      Meant to show that the heartless Bush felt clearing scrub was more important than the one of the planets worst natural disasters?

      Making things worse was his totally inadequate initial aid offer of $US15 million ($19.4million) – quickly bumped up to $US35million when other nations started putting in much more and the UN spoke of the “stingy” rich.

      Yep – obviously the evil non caring Bush administration only added more because they were embarrassed into it by the UN and other much more generous and caring nations eh Roy?

      Only after the White House began to hear questions from reporters about Bush’s absence from the world stage did he make a public appearance to address the biggest natural disaster in modern history. 

      Clearly Bush would not have bothered making any comments about this annoying tragedy thingy if it wasn’t for those wonderful reporters….

      I can’t help thinking Michael Moore would be very proud of Roy.

      Posted by Michael42 on 2005 01 01 at 02:45 PM • permalink

 

    1. Comparing charitability of nations is notoriously difficult.  For example, Norway gives away quite a lot of money per capita in foreign aid…but it takes it right back in high agricultural tariffs.  Trade, aid, military and diplomatic relations, and other issues all interplay.

      But the following is generally true:

      1) Some peoples give more foreign aid than others.  The Netherlands is always very high on this score; their government gives, and the people give, too.  France is very low; their government gives little, and the people give hardly at all.  Ditto Germany.  The United States is pretty near the top, because although its government (the world’s largest benefactor) gives comparitively little (‘cause the USA is a rich nation with 290 million people, so the per capita performance ain’t that great), the American people give far more than their government to charitable organizations.  Many of the citizens of Western Europe have all but abandoned private charitable gifting, apparently thinking that’s their governments’ responsibility.

      2) Leftist organizations always, always, always, always ignore these subtleties, and never mention private charitable gifting.  Case in point: the New York Times’s pathetic editorial today, 12/31/04.

      Posted by littlebeartoe on 2005 01 01 at 03:31 PM • permalink

 

  1. Leftist organizations always, always, always, always ignore these subtleties

    Not just those, though. Ignoring subtleties of reality is pretty much the only way you can still make arguments for any leftist position these days. (Not very credible ones, of course.) It makes their recent branding as the “reality-based community” ironic on more levels than I care to count.

    Posted by PW on 2005 01 01 at 08:43 PM • permalink