Identification of Victims in Thailand Might Take Months
(RIA Novosti, by Mikhail Tsyganov) – Australian Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer, who recently arrived on a Thai island of Phuket,
believes that the identification of the victims of tsunami might
last for weeks or even months because in many cases the authorities
will have to rely on DNA analysis and dental records due to the
fact that bodies decompose quickly in equatorial climate and local
morgues lack sufficient space to keep corpses.
which has acquired experience in dealing with such situations
after explosions in Bali in 2002 when 88 Australians were killed,
has already allocated funds to set up an international identification
lab on Phuket island. Pathologists from 19 countries will work
there. Many of them are already participating in rescue operations
on the island.
to press secretary of the Russian Embassy in Thailand Irina Borisyuk,
"in general, the situation on Phuket island has stabilized."
At the same time, she categorically refused to make any predictions
regarding the conclusion of identification procedures because
the situation is absolutely unclear at this point.
to official data, 5,187 people, including 2,463 foreign tourists
died in Thailand. Another 3,810 are still missing.
Post newspaper announced on Tuesday that many foreign tourists
traveled from disaster zones on the island of Phuket and in the
south-west of the kingdom to other areas of Thailand which were
not affected by the natural disaster. As a result, the resorts
in these areas are overcrowded by foreign tourists and some of
them have to spend nights camping on beaches. In particular, 30
to 35 thousand tourists arrive every day on the island of Samui,
which has hotels capable of accommodating 13,000 tourists at most,
the newspaper emphasizes. Local authorities have started to set
up tent camps to accommodate the new arrivals.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Surveys Tsunami Devastation in
Indonesia’s Aceh Province
By Nancy-Amelia Collins
Banda Aceh, Indonesia
(January 5, 2005) (VOA) — U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
has visited the tsunami-wrecked region of Indonesia’s Aceh Province
Wednesday pledging to help the devastated area.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (R), Indonesian Social Welfare
minister Alwi Shihab (C) and Florida Governor Jeb Bush walk
at the airport in Banda Aceh, Indonesia January 5, 2005
after touring tsunami-hit areas in the Indonesian province
of Aceh. Fresh dangers stalked efforts to help millions
of tsunami victims on Wednesday as U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell voiced his shock at the devastation he saw
touring the worst-hit areas in Indonesia.
by Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
A visibly moved Colin Powell said after flying
over Banda Aceh Wednesday that he has a much better understanding
of the enormous amount of damage the December 26 tsunami did to
Aceh – located at the northern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island.
Mr. Powell says he has never seen anything to
compare with this damage.
"With respect to what I’ve seen in the course
of my career, I’ve been in war and I’ve been in a number of hurricanes,
tornadoes and other relief operations but I have never seen anything
like this," he said.
The massive tsunami, triggered by a magnitude
9.0 earthquake, killed up to a 150,000 people in a dozen Indian
Ocean countries – with two thirds of those killed in Aceh.
An unprecedented international relief response
is now underway with the United States pledging to contribute
$350 million of the more than $2 billion in official aid.
Washington has committed more than 13,000 troops
and 14 ships to deliver supplies, power, fresh water, medical
and engineering help. The U.S. Secretary says the United States
will increase the number of helicopters flying relief missions
to areas impossible to reach because roads and bridges and most
infrastructures have been wiped out by the tsunami.
"We will be increasing the number of helicopters
that will be available to support our TNI [Indonesian military]
and Indonesian authorities and we will respond to requests we
get from the Indonesian authorities for shelter materials and
food," said Mr. Powell.
Officials estimate there are at least 400,000
homeless in Aceh, and most are living in makeshift refugee camps
along the washed out roads, in the forests, or anywhere they can
find a spot of land.
The United States has embarked on a major aid
effort in close cooperation with the Indonesian government. This
is a major change as the United States had suspended many forms
of military cooperation since 1992 due to concerns over human
rights abuses by the Indonesian Armed Forces.
Mr. Powell will attend a one-day international
disaster summit in Jakarta on Thursday – before continuing his
tour of the countries most affected by the tsunami.
Related to the Tsunami Disaster:
Bush, Clinton to Head Relief Fund; Tsunami Aid Continues
** Remarks by Secretary
of State Colin L. Powell Outside of Indonesian Embassy after Signing
** Russian Rescuers
Continue Their Work on Sri Lanka
** Current Number of
Missing Russian Tourists on Phuket is 36 People
** Briefing on the U.S.
Government Relief Efforts in Asia
** United States Government
Response to the Tsunami Disaster in Indonesia
** More than 50 Russian
Tourists are Missing in Thailand
** Bush Mourns Tsunami
Victims, Highlights Relief Efforts
** Navy ‘Angels’ Delivering
Relief Supplies to Indonesia
** U.S. Pledges $350M
to Relief as Indonesia Missions Begin
** Ships, Aircraft,
Personnel Converge on Disaster Zone
** Tsunami Toll Hits
120,000; 10 Israelis Still Missing
** Thailand Says 2
Israelis Might Be Among 74,000 Killed by Tsunami
** Israel Sends Aid
to Thailand, Sri Lanka
** Hundreds of Israelis
Missing in Southeast Asia Following Earthquake Disaster
** Statement on Bay
of Bengal Earthquake and Tidal Waves
** International Community
to Aid Nations Hit by Quake, Tsunami
** UN Says Cost of
Tsunami Disaster Without Precedent
** Strike Group Commander:
Ships Ready to Assist
** FBI Offers Tips
for Searching the Whereabouts of Tsunami Victims
** Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger Honors the Memory of the Victims of the Indian
Ocean Earthquake and Tsunamis
Clinton to Head Relief Fund;
Tsunami Aid Continues
By Jim Garamone
Jan. 3, 2005
— Former Presidents Bush and Clinton will head a fundraising effort
to get Americans to donate money to reliable charities to aid tsunami
victims in the Indian Ocean area, President Bush announced.
Bush, center, announces, Monday, Jan. 3, 2005, in the Roosevelt
room at the White House, that he is appointing former Presidents
George H.W. Bush, left, and Bill Clinton, right, to head
up efforts to raise money for the massive American relief
operation in the Asian tsunami-battered regions.
Photo by Ron Edmonds / AP
also praised the way American servicemembers have responded to
the unprecedented international disaster in the region.
150,000 people are dead in the "arc of destruction"
that spreads from Thailand to the Horn of Africa, Bush said. He
announced that U.S. flags will fly at half-staff for the victims.
The U.S. government has pledged $350 million in aid for the stricken
area, and that amount could grow, pending the results of ongoing
showing the compassion of our nation in the swift response, but
the greatest source of America’s generosity is not our government,
it’s the good heart of the American people," Bush said. "In
the week since the tsunami struck, private citizens have contributed
millions of dollars for disaster relief and reconstruction."
that former President Clinton and former President Bush will head
a nationwide charitable fundraising effort. "Both presidents
know the great decency of our people," Bush said. "They
bring tremendous leadership experience to this role, and they
bring good hearts. I am grateful to the former Presidents Clinton
and Bush for taking on this important responsibility and for serving
our country once again."
The U.S. military
response in the region continues and grows, Bush said. "American
military assets in the region are now aiding recovery efforts,"
he said. "Patrol and cargo aircraft have been surveying damage
and delivering supplies for several days. Air Force C-130s are
flying aid missions 24 hours a day."
The U.S. Navy’s
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group is off the coast of Sumatra
and transporting relief supplies by helicopter. "Other naval
and Marine assets will arrive shortly to generate clean water
and provide further logistical help," Bush said.
to the Abraham Lincoln group, the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary
Strike Group will be arriving in the region Jan. 4, said Marine
Brig. Gen. John Allen, DoD’s coordinator for tsunami-relief efforts.
that military forces are working very closely with host nations.
"These operations are operations for the countries themselves,"
Allen said during a State Department briefing today. "We
work very closely with Thailand; we’re working very closely with
Indonesia; we’re working very closely with Sri Lanka and the Maldives,
because it will be in those areas in which the relief process
will occur, and it is their relief."
When the Bonhomme
Richard group reaches the area, its 24 helicopters will join the
19 of the Lincoln group delivering humanitarian supplies to isolated
areas. Another organization, Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron
3, is also headed to the theater, Allen said.
The six ships
in the prepositioning squadron, from Guam and Japan, are very
large container ships. They can store up to 90,000 gallons of
fresh water and can produce tens of thousands of gallons of fresh
water a day, and helicopters can operate from aboard these vessels.
planes are providing much of the lift capacity, Allen said. "The
Air Force has delivered, at this juncture, 430,000 pounds of supplies
into the region," he said. "C-130s are converging on
the region; there are about 17 on the ground now."
— C-17 Globemaster IIIs and C-5 Galaxys — also are bringing
in needed supplies and other relief equipment.
Department of State
by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell Outside of Indonesian Embassy
after Signing Condolence Book
December 30, 2004
Sumatra, Indonesia (Jan. 4, 2005) – An Indonesian
family waits for food and humanitarian relief at Sultan
Iskandar Muda Air Force Base in Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Medical teams from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier
Air Wing Two (CVW-2) and the International Organization
for Migration (IOM) set-up a triage site located on Sultan
Iskandar Muda Air Force Base, in Banda Aceh, Sumatra. The
two teams worked together with members of the Australian
Air Force to provide initial medical care to victims of
the Tsunami-stricken coastal regions. The Abraham Lincoln
Carrier Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian
Ocean off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand.
Photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Jacob J. Kirk
/ U.S. Navy Photo
Good morning, Mr. Secretary.
POWELL: Good morning.
What is the United States doing and what is the world going to
do to help in this crisis?
POWELL: We are mobilizing all our assets to help. As you know,
we made an initial infusion of money, some $35 million, but we
know that this is just the beginning of a much greater need and
much more significant commitment from the United States. We have
airplanes arriving with aid now. Some six airplanes are landing
or in the process of landing and more will follow. U.S. Naval
Forces are on the way to the region and will begin arriving next
week, and they should be able to provide some additional assistance.
Search and rescue teams have left from Los Angeles and from Fairfax
County, Virginia, to assist in rescue efforts. We’re beefing up
our disaster relief teams in the region to make an assessment.
reaching out to all Americans to make a contribution. Americans
are a very generous people and we hope that they will go to our
websites, state.gov or usaid.gov, and from there they can learn
about agencies that are collecting money that will be used for
the relief effort. And I encourage all Americans to participate
in this relief effort.
has made it clear that the United States will do everything we
can to assist those nations that have been affected. Sri Lanka
and Indonesia are the two nations that are in greatest need. We’re
also, of course, working with Thailand and other nations that
international community has to come together on this and, as you
know, we formed a core group of nations the other day, as the
President announced yesterday. That core group is working. We’ll
be in a television conference with Kofi Annan at 11 o’clock this
morning to make sure that our efforts are coordinated with the
This is an
unprecedented tragedy. In my many years of government, I’ve never
come across one this large. But these things tend to have a cycle
to them. You get the initial reports coming in, you make some
preliminary assessments, you start the aid flowing, you start
the money flowing, you then send out response teams and assessment
teams. And when you get a better understanding of what the needs
are and how the countries affected can absorb the relief effort
that’s heading their way, then you start to fill the pipeline.
And that’s what we’re doing now, with money, with food, with assets.
And as the need becomes clearer, you can expect the United States
to make more significant contributions in the days, weeks and
And it is
not just an immediate humanitarian relief effort. It’s a rebuilding
effort. You saw the destruction that has taken place. Homes have
to be rebuilt. Businesses have to be rebuilt. This is the principal
responsibility of the governments concerned, but they will need
help, and they can be sure that the international community is
responding to that need and you can be sure that the United States,
at President Bush’s direction, will be in the forefront of that
Can you tell us how much —
Mr. Secretary, you wrote a very heart — it looks like half a
page, almost a page, of heartfelt note, and this is your second
embassy. What are you writing on behalf of the United States?
POWELL: On behalf of President and Mrs. Bush and the American
people, extending sympathy and condolences to the nations involved
and the people involved. This is a terrible tragedy. The reports
from Indonesia suggest that as many as 45,000 now have been lost.
It’s rather unprecedented. And so this is the time for us to all
join together in solidarity to express our condolences to the
families of those who were lost, but also let the people who are
in need know that we are coming to assist their governments in
helping them and to make sure that we have a coordinated effort
with the international community. And so I just wanted to leave
a message of sympathy and a message of solidarity.
Can you tell us — Voice of America Indonesia Service. Can you
tell us how much of relief is going to Indonesia?
POWELL: Right now I cannot give you a breakdown because so many
relief organizations are on the move. And what we have to do is
make sure that there’s a good assessment from the country. We
need the countries to tell us what they need and where they want
the resources applied. And so that’s why we have dispatched our
disaster assistance relief teams to make those assessments, working
with the country. There’s nothing worse than sending resources
to the wrong place. It costs money to move equipment, to move
supplies. We want to make sure we’re moving these things to the
right place, and it takes a little bit of time.
But this disaster
struck last Saturday night. The very next morning, the United
States had task forces established and set up, and by Monday morning
we were beginning to allocate money to the relief effort, and
by Tuesday afternoon we had allocated for the separate $35 million
and we had set up a core group to work on relief. And as the President
said when he spoke to the world yesterday, we would do more to
make sure that everybody understands that America is a compassionate
nation, a generous nation that can always be counted on during
this time of crisis and tragedy.
And so we
are hard at work with my colleagues in the Pentagon, my colleagues
in the U.S. Agency for International Development. Everyone else
in the United States Government who has a role to play, is being
pulled together in the task force under Under Secretary of State
Marc Grossman. We’re working very well together and you will see
a significant step-up in the flow of aid.
And I also
will be in touch with members of Congress over the next several
days to alert them to what the needs may be as we move further
down the road, not just for humanitarian relief but for the rebuilding
and reconstruction effort that has to follow.
Congress will have to appropriate funds?
POWELL: Well, that’s what we have to look at. There are just so
many funds that are immediately available to me or to the Administrator
of AID. When something like this comes along, we very often have
to take the money from other accounts in order to deal with the
immediate problem, and then we have to determine how to replenish
those accounts. And so this is part of the process of determining
where the resources are coming from. And if more resources are
needed, then we work with the Office of Management and Budget,
and ultimately it’s something that the Congress has to be involved
In this case,
because I think the need will be so great, obviously I think the
Congress will have a role to play. But that remains to be determined.
Right now, get the aid flowing, get the assistance teams in, make
a good assessment, work with the countries, work with the international
community, and come up with a good statement of the need so that
we can apply the resources to that need and not waste resources.
And once again,
I’m so pleased that the response we see from the American people
with respect to private donations. Just to single out one, Pfizer
Pharmaceuticals, recognizing it’s a pharmaceutical company, they
decided to give money because money is fungible and money can
be used, money can be sent to one of the humanitarian organizations
that knows exactly what is needed and purchase the right response
to that need, purchase the right equipment or food or whatever
might be needed. As opposed to shipping commodities over, ship
the money to the agencies and let them spend the money in the
best possible way and apply the money where the need is greatest.
Rescuers Continue Their Work on Sri Lanka
January 4 (RIA Novosti) – The rescuers sent by Russia’s Emergency
Situations Ministry operate on the Sri Lanka island hit by the
tsunamis, providing aid to hundreds of people.
working in the south of island have split into three groups, the
ministry’s spokesman told RIA Novosti. "One of the groups
is clearing the debris in the Kalamula village, the second one
gives aid to people in the refugee camp in the town of Kalutara
and the third group helps the local rescuers," he said.
Bo-105 of the Emergency Situations Ministry, delivered to Sri
Lanka from Moscow, is used in the interest of the UN Office for
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
rescuers are expected to work on Sri Lanka for a few more days.
of 30,196 people there has been confirmed in latest news reports.
days of 2005 have brought the news of the heavy plight of the
tsunami victims in Somalia, which was reached by the waves moving
at the speed of a jet liner from the earthquake epicenter 4,500
km away. Not less than 50,000 people in Somali are in urgent need
of food, water, shelter and medical aid, said Yusuf Mohammed Ismail,
an official spokesman of the Somalian president. At present the
death of about 200 people caused by the tsunami has been confirmed,
and dozens people are missing.
confirmed number of people killed by the tsunamis and earthquakes
in twelve countries in the Indian Ocean is 144,970, according
to a UN report.
Number of Missing Russian
Tourists on Phuket is 36 People
January 4 (RIA Novosti) – The number of missing Russian tourists,
who were vacationing on the Thai island of Phuket when tsunami
hit the island on December 26, 2004, is currently 36 people, announced
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Yakovenko.
figure was determined on the basis of the most recent data received
by the operative headquarters and the Thai immigration authorities,"
Mr. Yakovenko said.
He also confirmed
that the number of Russian tourists who were killed by tsunami
had reached ten people. Two of the bodies – mother and son Lipuntsovy
had been identified and returned to relatives. Eight other bodies
of Russian tourists are being identified at present.
reported that the Russian Embassy in Thailand identified 730 Russian
tourists who were vacationing on the island of Phuket and neighboring
islands at the time of the natural catastrophe. They were not
affected by the disaster.
of Russian tourists on vacation in other parts of Thailand, including
zones unaffected by tsunami is 130 people. The list was composed
according to information provided by relatives and friends of
Russian tourists by phone calls to the Russian ministry’s operative
headquarters and to the Russian Embassy in Thailand.
to Mr. Yakovenko, the officials from the Russian Embassy in Thailand
are currently focusing their efforts on the search for missing
Russian tourists who might have been in the disaster zone. The
search area primarily includes the island of Phuket and small
U.S. State Department
on the U.S. Government Relief Efforts in Asia
USAID Assistant Administrator James Kunder; Brigadier General
John Allen, Principal Director Asia and Pacific Affairs, Office
of Secretary of Defense, and Department of Defense
injured foreign tourists are sent to a hospital after
a tsunami hit Phuket, about 862 km (536 miles) south of
Bangkok, December 26, 2004. An unprecedented tidal wave
sowed chaos in Thailand’s southern tourist playground
on Sunday, tossing cars around and bursting into luxury
hotels on Phuket, flattening ‘The Beach’ movie island
and killing 257 people.
by Chaiwat Subprasom / Reuters
ERELI (Deputy Spokesman): Thank you for coming, everybody. We’re
pleased to have at the State Department today, two of the —
actually, three of the people who are very directly and intimately
involved with American relief efforts to the tsunami victims.
They are Mr. James Kunder, the Assistant Administrator of USAID
for Asia and the Near East, and General John Allen, Principal
Director of Asia and Pacific Affairs at the International Security
Affairs Bureau of the Department of Defense.
gentlemen will brief us on an update on relief activities for
the victims of the tsunami disaster and then will be available
to take your questions. We’ll try to keep this to about half
an hour because there are other events they have to go on to.
have to answer questions, Mr. Bill Garvelink, who is Deputy
Assistant Administrator for Democracy Conflict and Humanitarian
Assistance at USAID.
begin with Assistant Administrator Kunder and then go to General
Thank you. Let me give you a quick overview because, number
one, I know you have questions; and number two, I’m told you
have our latest USAID fact sheet which has pretty comprehensive
at this stage, in a crisis of this magnitude, we want to focus
on three things: number one is, continued assessment, we want
to get eyes on the ground and make sure we know what kind —
what the most urgent needs are in the affected parts of the
region; second, we want to get resources mobilized into the
region; and third, we want to get those resources coordinated
and distributed in the region.
all, as has been said before, this is probably the largest natural
disaster in terms of scope, area affected, and numbers of people
affected. And I’m talking about not just the estimated 140,000
killed, but the estimated three to five million people directly
affected by this crisis, and the one million plus displaced.
In terms of those measures, this is probably the largest natural
disaster to which the U.S. Government has responded.
of the three areas I’ve identified, number one, assessment,
since we last briefed on Thursday, when Administrator Natsios
was here, we have more than 135 U.S. Government employees of
the U.S. Agency for International Development out in the field
assessing the scope of this crisis. And I know General Allen
is going to be talking about some of the military teams that
are out there working — or working together to get a clearer
picture of precisely what the needs are.
a classic situation where the needs are going to be of such
magnitude that we’ve got to make sure that we ready, aim, fire
— not ready, fire, aim. So we’re trying to get a clear picture
of what the needs are on the ground. We have now gotten international
assessment teams and government teams from the affected governments
into all regions of Thailand that were affected, all regions
of India that were affected, all regions of Sri Lanka that were
affected, the Maldives Islands. And in most regions of Sri Lanka
that were affected, there are still isolated — excuse me —
except for Indonesia — there are some isolated regions of Aceh
in which international teams have not yet arrived. They are
on the ground now trying to reach those last isolated sections
So, in terms
of assessment, compared to where we were last Thursday, we have
a much clearer picture of what the needs are on the ground and
we’re looking both at immediate relief needs and then the needs
to prevent any further deaths occurring from epidemic disease
or shelter or lack of food or water; second, in terms of resources,
obviously, since we last briefed you, the size of the United
States Government pledge has increased from the $35 million
that we were reporting last Thursday to the $350 million that
the President has announced. Overall, there are on the order
of $2.1 billion the UN is reporting from international donors
that have been amassed and are flowing into the region; but
third, and critically, it’s important to get those resources
managed and distributed in the region. And that is probably
the single most important thing we’re focused on right now.
in terms of water, medical supplies, food supplies, have reached
many major hubs in Colombo, in Bangkok, in the air strips both
in Jakarta and in eastern Sumatra, and we are doing what we
would normally be doing at this stage of the process, which
is managing the supplies that get to those hubs and establishing
hub-and-spoke systems so that the relief supplies are getting
out to the most isolated regions. They are flowing. There are
some parts of Aceh where we’ve had to rely on some dropped air
supplies because the situation is so inaccessible because of
the roads and bridges being wiped out by the tsunami and the
earthquake that preceded it. We have teams working in most of
those areas now, but that is the critical part, is getting supplies
out to the most isolated areas.
So, in terms
of how we look at this right now, we’re getting a much clearer
picture of the situation, we’re getting assets into the region
and we’re getting the assets distributed.
We are already
beginning now our planning for reconstruction activities. There
has been some reporting about how already some signs of life
are reemerging, markets being reestablished, even in hard-hit
areas of Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In addition to delivering
relief supplies, what we will classically do in this kind of
situation is to try to get some cash in at the grassroots level
to create effective demand at the grassroots level so that the
normal private sector and commercial systems can start flowing.
As I think
all of you know, part of the problem in major natural disasters
of this kind is a lack of supplies, but an equally pressing
problem is the lack of resources by those who have been directly
affected. There are still blankets, food supplies, drinking
water, shelter material clearly on the island of Sri Lanka.
There are the same set of supplies clearly on the island of
Sumatra and in the affected — and in other parts of the region
that are affected by this tsunami.
doing, for example, is putting $10 million into Sri Lanka in
the affected areas for cash-for-work programs. This, number
one, gets people back to work and doing cleanup, but it gets
some cash into their hands. We’re talking about getting the
affected populations, paying them to do cleanup work so that
they can start going to their local shopkeepers, those local
shopkeepers can start requesting food, since all of these people
have been affected. The shopkeepers have been affected. The
individuals who lost their homes have been affected. We’re trying
to get some cash into the grassroots. We’re considering — so
that we can effectively draw resources that are in the region
into the affected areas to supplement the relief supplies that
are coming outside. We think this will be an effective initial
has a separate effect because what our assessment teams are
telling us, and has been reported in the media, is that the
psycho-social impact of this crisis is grave, people are still
disoriented, still stunned by the magnitude of the crisis, and
based on our experience in previous crises of this magnitude,
it is important to get people back to work. And we hope these
cash-for-work programs will begin to get people back to work
and engaged in the cleanup process so that they can begin the
psycho-social process of restoring their lives.
what I would just give you a quick overview, obviously supplemented
by this fact sheet that we’ve handed out — enormous magnitude
of the crisis, a very, very large-scale relief operation underway,
still trying to reach the most isolated regions, and the beginnings
of our planning for reconstruction that will follow on the relief
turn it over to General Allen at this point.
Good morning. I’m Brigadier General John Allen, Principal Director
of Asia Pacific Affairs within International Security Affairs
and the Secretary’s Office of Secretary of Defense. Let me just
brief you about the relationship of the Department of Defense
to this relief mission, and then I’ll talk about where our forces
are deployed and give you some idea of what they’re doing right
Department of Defense and the services, are in support of this
operation. We are teamed up very closely at every level with
USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. On the
ground, at the various locations, we’ll call it OFDA — the
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance — OFDA has lead. But
there are military representatives standing shoulder to shoulder
with OFDA, helping in the process of prioritizing the various
requirements and ensuring that we are part of the process by
which these supplies are moved forward so that they’re relevant
and they’re efficiently moved.
of our being notified of this crisis, military planners went
to work and began to plan how the U.S. military might support
the U.S. Government in the process of reducing the suffering
and providing relief. Within hours, U.S. military forces were
underway and moving to the region. Now we’re working very closely,
as these forces arrive in the region, with those nations that
need the assistance.
In the end,
these operations are operations for the countries themselves.
We work very closely with Thailand. We’re working very closely
with Indonesia. We’re working very closely with Sri Lanka and
the Maldives because it will be in those areas in which the
relief process will occur and it is their relief, and we’re
very conscious of that and we’re very, very conscious of their
sovereignty and their national pride and we seek to work with
them very, very closely.
that we have in the theater right now, just north and slightly
west of the northern tip of Sumatra, near Banda Aceh, is a carrier
group, carrier strike group called the Abraham Lincoln, which
is one of our major carriers with support ships; en route, and
it should be arriving in the next day or so, is an expeditionary
group known as the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group.
It is a element of ships that has at its core an amphibious
ready group, three ships. One looks much like an aircraft carrier,
the Bonhomme Richard, and there are some other support ships
24 helicopters coming with the troops aboard the Bonhomme Richard,
and there is a Marine Expeditionary Unit that is embarked in
that expeditionary strike group. There are 19 helicopters aboard
USS Abraham Lincoln, and those units are in fact involved right
now, the Abraham Lincoln, and the Bonhomme Richard group, will
be involved as well.
forces that are coming to the theater, surface forces, is an
organization known as the Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron
Three. These are very large container ships, which are prepositioned
military equipment, but they have tremendous capacity to support
units ashore. They can store up to 90,000 gallons of fresh water.
They can produce tens of thousands of gallons of fresh water
a day per ship; six of them are coming. They also have helicopter
flight decks. And there are other capabilities aboard those
ships, which may, as the assessments and the needs are identified,
play and tell seriously in providing the relief.
from all around the world, air force airlift aircraft are converging
on the scene, carrying in tremendous amounts of supplies; in
fact, the air force has delivered, at this juncture, 430,000
pounds of supplies into the region: C-130s are converging on
the region — there are about 17 on the ground now; strategic
airlift, C-17s, C-5s, are also bringing in needed supplies;
bringing in other equipment necessary for the relief as well.
So, as Mr.
Kunder properly depicted it, the military response, in conjunction,
as a part of the U.S. Government response, has been significant,
it was instantaneous, and I would call it massive. And it is
probably one of the largest military operations in support of
humanitarian assistance or disaster relief that we have mounted
in many, many years.
that, I think I’ll end my introduction, and perhaps transition
Just a quick fact question.
I possibly missed it. Where did you say the Bonhomme and the
container ships are head — are all three of these major forces
going to the same point?
They’re all converging on the disaster area.
Well, the area is a large area.
I know. And there are needs and assessments that are being done,
based on the capabilities, and as those assessments are done,
as those needs are identified, then we’ll shift resources constantly
throughout the theater in order to meet the needs as they exist
and as they emerge.
Is there a pivotal point, or is there —
Yes, there is.
And what is that point?
On the ground, at a place called Utapao, which is an air base
in Thailand, has stood up an organization known as Joint Task
Force 536. Joint Task Force 536 is the central hub for the orchestration
of these military forces that are arriving in the region.
Indonesia and in Thailand and in Sri Lanka, there will be something
stood up called U.S. support groups, and these U.S. support
groups are both a military entity but also very closely tied
with the other U.S. Government elements that are there. They
will orchestrate the relief for those countries on the ground.
answer your question, sir?
Yes, sir, it does.
Andrea, do you have a question?
Sure. Actually, General, if you could please explain a little
bit more about how these different ships and helicopters are
going to be used and where exactly? You had mentioned at the
beginning that the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group was
going to be near Banda Aceh. Is that correct?
The Abraham Lincoln is just to the north of Sumatra now. It
has a number of helicopters, H60 model helicopters, which are
flying off the Abraham Lincoln, in essence, 24 hours a day.
As you know,
the west coast of Sumatra was very badly devastated by the effects
of the tsunami. Its logistics infrastructure was affected tremendously
— road networks, bridges, means of communications. All of that
has created the situation where the ability for us to move things
by surface has really been reduced, and in fact eliminated,
for many of those regions.
now, the helicopters are flying off that aircraft carrier and
delivering those very desperately needed supplies, whether they’re
just water or food or shelter or clothing, to those points which
are, at this juncture, assessed to be the in greatest need.
And we’re cooperating very closely with the Indonesian authorities
to ensure that their identification of needs drives the process
by which we are moving these.
Now, a lot
of the supplies are coming out of Banda Aceh and Madan, and
as is the case normally with relief evolutions like this, as
the world responds — in this case, as the United States responds,
as the neighbors, countries who are neighboring respond, as
the world responds — lots of things flow in. They flow in very
quickly and they flow into airports and what we’ll call airheads
and to port facilities that were not affected that can sustain
So, if you’re
not careful, pretty quickly you have a buildup of supplies that
you now must move forward. And the commanders who are on the
scene are using those helicopters now to move as much of those
supplies forward as they possibly can to ensure that those people
who are isolated, those people who are in the greatest need,
are receiving as much support as these helicopters can provide.
What about the container ships? The container ships and the
The Bonhomme Richard has, as I said, a number of helicopters
aboard. Those helicopters are the CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters;
CH-46, which is a medium helicopter; there are some light utility
helicopters called the UH-1, the Hueys. Those helicopters will
go immediately to work, as soon as they reach the objective
area, and will assist in the process that is already underway
through the Abraham Lincoln and continuing the process of moving
relief supplies forward from those airheads that I mentioned
before, Madan and Banda, and they’ll continue that process.
And the intent is to start flowing through the helicopters as
quickly as possible the forward movement of those supplies.
landing craft aboard some of these ships and we intend to use
some of those landing craft that have unique capabilities, so
we can, again, bypass the devastated infrastructure to be able
to deliver to areas where the supplies are needed. And then
in the MPS ships, as they’re called, there is significant capacity
on those ships to produce fresh water, significant capacity
to store fresh water, and those ships can be offloaded by helicopter.
They all have flight decks. They can be offloaded by hose over
the side into barges to barge the water ashore.
through the assessment process we’ll determine whether those
ships can go pierside anywhere, but the effects of the tsunami,
in terms of port facilities have also been dramatic, in terms
of decreasing the draft that these ships can attain in the water.
Have there been military rescues that you could tell us about?
I mean, survivors are still — fishermen turned up yesterday.
The helicopters get down awfully — well, it’s kind of a two-point
question. I heard a reference on radio, I guess, over the weekend
that it’s very hard for the helicopters to get where they’d
like to go best, where they most would like to go because of
the chaos and the confusion. And then, you know, people think
— and maybe it’s wrong, maybe it’s misguided, maybe it’s based
on movies — but people think of helicopters as a very valuable
rescue craft that can see what is going on and can focus rescue
get into that a little bit, if you think it’s germane, I mean,
if you think something’s going on there?
Well, I think that, as with any crisis along these lines where
people’s lives are instantaneously changed forever, where the
social fabric of the society that they’ve known hasn’t changed
over a period of time — it’s changed like that. When that occurs
it becomes, in many cases, an issue of just human survival,
and in some of these areas there have been days with no contact
and no relief. So there will sometimes appear to be desperation,
as these helicopters are heard, as they’re approaching the LZs,
the landing zones, and as they’re trying to get into the landing
that and we will operate that equipment, we will operate those
aircraft, in every way possible so that there can be no injury
to those people. We’re desperately trying to help them and try
to reduce their suffering. I believe Mr. Kunder talked about
the fact that there had been some drops, free drops of some
of the gear. We’re just not going to kick it out the door. We’re
going to make sure that if we drop it, it’s somewhere nearby
but it’s not going to hurt someone. We’re going to work very
hard to minimize any potential for that.
(Inaudible), but I mean —
— not being able to drop exactly where you’d like to —
You’re going to do the best you can to make that aircraft and
its cargo relevant to the need on the ground. And if it’s possible
to set that bird down in that landing zone right next to the
village, we’re going to do it because we want to reduce the
amount of work we’ve got to put the people through. But if we
can’t get into that landing zone for whatever reason, we’re
going to get as close as we possibly can. The point is we want
to help them and we’ll adjust the tactical situation to account
for the need.
And have you found any unfortunates bobbing in the sea or something?
Have there been any dramatic U.S.-driven rescues?
I have no information in that regard.
Yes, General, during your preliminary remarks you said that
you were very conscious of the sovereignty of the different
states in the region and their national pride. Does that mean
you are meeting — I don’t know — some resistance or some reluctance
in certain places to cooperate with your forces?
I have no reports of that. It is the going-in position that
we have that these countries are responsible for their rescue
and for their relief, and ultimately for their reconstruction.
And as Mr. Kunder said, we’re here to help them. And in the
process of helping them, we want to ensure that they’re comfortable
with what we bring to the table and they’re comfortable with
the manner in which we interface with them so that they are,
in fact, responsible for their relief. And that’s very important
to us. It’s very important, I know, to the team that we have
developed, the U.S. Government team that’s on the ground, and
ultimately, I’m sure, the neighbors that are arriving offering
help and the international community that is seeking to offer
Tell me if I’m wrong or mistaken, but did I hear you mention
India in the list of countries with which you are cooperating?
You mentioned Indonesia and others, but I don’t remember India.
Yes. Oh, yes. We talk to India constantly. And, of course, they
have a significant capability to provide assistance and they
are very much committed to that. I’ll let India speak for India,
but I know they’re very committed to being relevant and assisting.
They have a very close and historic relationship with Sri Lanka
and we are talking to the Indians constantly on this issue at
many different levels.
Early on, the Indian Government said it would take — thank
you very much, but we’re sufficient, this very proud statement
that we will take care of our own problems. Maybe there are
two different things here, India helping Sri Lanka —
That’s correct, and that’s what I’m referring to.
But so far as India’s damage, India takes care of that?
We’re working about Sri Lanka. My comment is directed with regard
to the relief of Sri Lanka and we’re coordinating with India
in that regard.
Just to follow up on the same subject, I don’t believe you’ve
mentioned Myanmar/Burma. Is there no contact at all? I mean,
I understand the difficulty, political difficulties, but can
you bring us up to date on any contact?
I don’t believe we have any operations —
There was no disaster declaration there so we —
The thing that would trigger an official U.S. Government response
would be a disaster declaration either by the U.S. Ambassador
or, in the absence of a U.S. Ambassador, the senior-most State
Department official responsible. We had no disaster declaration
And if I
could just elaborate on this last point, I mean, please understand,
the nature of working — first of all, the general is absolutely
right. The Indians are assisting, and you’ll recall that the
President announced the formation of a group with the Indians,
the Australians and the Japanese, a core group to respond within
the region. So, clearly, the Indians are actively involved.
itself, I mean, not only do we naturally have an embassy there,
but we have an ongoing U.S. foreign assistance program in India.
We have good bilateral arrangements with the Indians. And what
has happened is that, in cooperation with the Indian Government,
we have diverted some of our regular development assistance
program in India to assist in cooperation with the Indian Government
some of the affected populations in India.
Do you have any assessment of how many areas near Banda Aceh
remain isolated, how much you’ve actually been able to get in
there now with the helicopters and how much you think it’s going
to increase, asses it’s going to increase, once the Bonhomme
Richard and more helicopters and MPS ships are there? Are there
I wish I could quantify that. Would you — I wouldn’t want to
quantify. We talked about it just this morning. I mean, you
have a very dynamic process going on right now of U.S. military
helicopters landing in some of these isolated areas, our teams
trying to push out.
have worked previously — you know, again, there is a U.S. foreign
assistance program in Indonesia, a very substantial one, and
while there were some limitations on working in Aceh because
of the conflict there, we did have, through our Office of Transition
Initiatives, some activity, some peace-building activities in
Aceh Province. So we have some established partners on the ground,
NGOs, nongovernmental organizations. So we’re also working with
those nongovernmental organizations. The UN agencies, which
have their own substantial programs, like UNICEF, like the World
Food Program, like the World Health Organization, also have
assessment teams going out. We’re trying to coordinate this
range of international assessment teams.
I can say
that we’ve reached many of the isolated areas of Aceh. In the
next couple days, we’ll reach many, many more. And I’m hoping
that within a matter of days we’ll be able to tell you that
we’ve reached every isolated area. But bridges were wiped out
and this is a very large, and as you know, very isolated area.
A question for the Assistant Administrator. There were some
reports over the weekend that perhaps some of the assessments
coming out of India understated the kind of devastation in that
country because of the tsunami. Could you talk about what kind
of effects you have seen based on the assessments from your
people on the ground in India about what kind of devastation
has occurred in India?
mentioned the cash-to-work program in Sri Lanka. Are there any
plans to have similar programs elsewhere in the areas of devastation?
And a question
for the general. Are there — is there a cycle set up, a rotation
for these planes to come in? You mentioned that you have C-130s
coming in. Is there going to be some sort of daily rotation
or a weekly rotation where they come in, fly out, fly in? Is
that what we’re going to see in terms of, you know, resupplying
the areas of devastation?
Well, our assessment of the situation in the affected areas
of India is as stated in the fact sheet that you have there.
I’m not aware of the allegations that the — that they might
have been underestimated. In fact, we have, based on the latest
reports from our assessment teams and the Indian Government,
we’ve actually revised our initial figures downward in terms
of deaths in India, some of the — you know, some of the limited
good news out of this crisis. But I’m not aware of any underestimation.
what you would normally expect in a crisis of this magnitude,
where communications are disrupted, is that you’re going to
get a lot of fragmentary anecdotal early reporting which could
be almost anywhere across the board, and that’s exactly why
the military sends assessment teams, we send assessment teams,
international organizations send assessment teams, so we get
a clearer picture. And it’s normal for those figures then to
be revised accordingly once we get better data and better eyes,
professional eyes, on the ground; second, we are looking at
doing similar cash-for-work programs in other affected regions,
but we have only announced it thus far in Sri Lanka.
let the general talk about the C-130s.
Strategically, we have airlift that is coming from the United
States and other places where they’re based in the world, and
they are delivering the large quantities of supplies, they are
delivering equipment and so on, into the region. Operatically
within the region, the C-130s then are distributing those supplies
to smaller airheads so that they can be further pushed out to
the tactical needs.
So we have
the strategic airlift delivering it into the major region. Within
the region we have the C-130s and probably some of the heavy-lift
helicopters moving it to some of the smaller airheads, and then
from those particular points then the helicopters will take
up individual loads and deliver them down to the points where
there is need.
of this is being coordinated so that it is as efficient as we
can make it and as effective as we can make it to put the right
kind of supplies against the right need as quickly as we can
possibly move it.
I think we have time for one more question. Andrea.
Could either one of you gentlemen speak to whether or not your
various organizations are involved in trying to find Americans
who are still listed as missing in the areas, whether or not
you’ve had any success finding them, and if you have any idea
what the figures are right now of Americans who are still unaccounted
I know the State Department is tracking that.
We would defer to the State Department on that. The consular
officers would normally have primary responsibility.
You’re not involved at all in trying to bring assistance to
I can’t speak for the State Department, but I know that questions
are being actively pursued with respect to the whereabouts of
Americans, and as best possible to investigate those questions
and respond to families or to loved ones who are asking.
Thank you very much.
States Government Response to
the Tsunami Disaster in Indonesia
To date the
USG has pledged nearly $15 million in direct humanitarian assistance
to Indonesia in response to the disaster, in addition to military
assistance and support. (Note assistance pledged by Secretary
Powell of $350 million, of which Indonesia will be getting a substantial
German tourist embraces her child outside a hotel destroyed
by tsunamis in Sri Lanka’s Galle district.
by Jimin Lai / AFP
USG support, emergency humanitarian services began Sunday immediately
following the disaster:
$2.1 million US support, Indonesian Red Cross began providing
emergency services to victims, including shelter, water, food
and medical services.
$3.5 million US support, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) began transporting and delivering relief supplies
(water, food, plastic sheeting, generators, fuel and medical
and logistical support, including U.S. military assets:
C-130 aircraft have begun airlift support to Jakarta, Medan
and Banda Aceh for transport of relief supplies, including
shelter, water, food, and medical services.
Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier now positioned off Aceh coast
to provide relief support including 10 helicopters to begin
sorties into Banda Aceh and west coast of Sumatra to transport
relief supplies and evacuate refugees and injured.
trucks distributing relief supplies in/around Banda Aceh.
Water, Shelter, and Health Care:
metric tons of food, with more forthcoming. 3,000 metric tons
are already in Jakarta.
metric tons of rice is on its way by boat from Singapore to
Aceh and North Sumatra.
liters of UHT milk packed in school packs for children to
be airlifted from Jakarta beginning today.
tons of fortified biscuits and noodles are in transit to Banda
Aceh. Water purification for 50,000 families already in Banda
Aceh being delivered by CARE to victims.
USAID-chartered plane landed yesterday in Medan with large-scale
water containers, jerry cans, and other relief supplies including
plastic sheeting to shelter 5,000 families.
Navy medical staff is on ground in Meulaboh to begin to respond
to immediate health care needs. U.S. Military Pacific Command
is working on TNI request to deploy field hospital in Meulaboh.
partners have already initiated the provision of hundreds
of generators, refrigerators for medicines, communications
equipment and basic emergency and shelter kits for families,
temporary water and sanitation facilities, trauma counseling,
clean up and access to other basic services (through USAID
partners International Relief and Development, Nurani Dunia,
of U.S Private Sector support:
companies (e.g. Marriot, NIKE, Caterpillar, Citi group) are
providing multi-million donations to relief efforts as well
as in-kind contributions of food and equipment.
U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia)
than 50 Russian Tourists are Missing in Thailand
MOSCOW, January 2 (RIA Novosti) – More than 50 Russian tourists
who were vacationing on the Thai island of Phuket are still
missing, reported press secretary of the Russian Union of Tour
Operators Irina Tyurina in a radio broadcast on Echo Mosckvy.
is less and less hope that they might be stranded somewhere
and cannot establish communication, because it has been a long
time since they were reported missing. All people who were somehow
stuck in remote areas have been found except this group,"
At the same
time, Irina Tyurina does not exclude the possibility that these
people left the disaster zone right after the catastrophe and
without notifying proper authorities.
Russian tourist called their tour operators right after the
disaster and during the following day. At present, there are
fewer and fewer of these calls. We think that, unfortunately,
we will have more official victims among Russian tourists,"
Mourns Tsunami Victims, Highlights Relief Efforts
President Bush said he and his fellow Americans “join
the rest of the world in feeling enormous sadness” over
the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. In his weekly radio address,
Bush highlighted U.S. efforts now under way to aid victims,
including work with “an international coalition to help
with immediate humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and long-term
praised his fellow citizens – individuals, companies and
charitable groups — for “translating the blessings of
our own country into generosity to others” by raising
millions of dollars for relief efforts.
announced that he had signed a proclamation calling for U.S.
flags to be lowered to half-staff in the coming week in honor
of the tsunami victims.
Following is a Transcript of the President’s Radio Address
Regarding the Tsunami
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Address of the President to the Nation
Good morning. On this first day of a new year, we join the world
in feeling enormous sadness over a great human tragedy. Last Sunday,
an earthquake and violent tsunamis struck the nations that surround
the Indian Ocean. The carnage is of a scale that defies comprehension,
with over 100,000 deaths reported. I have signed a proclamation
calling for our nation’s flag to be flown at half-staff this coming
week. As the people of this devastated region struggle to recover,
we offer our love and compassion, and our assurance that America
will be there to help.
Sumatra, Indonesia (Jan. 3, 2005) – Chief Hospital Corpsman
Jim Jones, of Gilboq, N.Y., tends to a patient flown-in
by a U.S. Navy helicopter to a temporary triage site in
Aceh, Sumatra. Medical teams from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN
72), Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) and the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) set-up a triage site located
on Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Force Base, in Banda Aceh, Sumatra.
The two teams worked together with members of the Australian
Air Force to provide initial medical care to victims of
the Tsunami-stricken coastal regions. The Abraham Lincoln
Carrier Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian
Ocean off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand. U.S. Navy
photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Elizabeth A. Edwards
this week, I spoke with the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand
and Indonesia. I offered them the condolences of our nation
and I praised their steadfast leadership. The task they face
is difficult. Their relief resources are stretched nearly to
roads and medical facilities have been badly damaged; disease
has become a very real threat.
are a compassionate people and we are already hard at work helping
those nations meet these challenges. The United States has pledged
$350 million in relief assistance, with $15 million already
in the hands of relief organizations in the affected countries.
To help coordinate this massive relief effort, disaster response
officials are on the ground and have established a support center
in Thailand that is manned and operational; more than 20 patrol
and cargo aircraft have been made available to assess the disaster
and deliver relief supplies — many of those aircraft are already
on the scene. We have dispatched the aircraft carrier, Abraham
Lincoln, the Maritime pre-positioning squadron from Guam, and
an amphibious ship carrying a Marine Expeditionary Unit — they
will soon be in position to support relief efforts, to include
the generation of clean water.
I will send a delegation to the area to meet with regional leaders
and international organizations to assess what additional aid
can be provided by the United States. The delegation will be
led by Secretary of State Colin Powell and Governor Jeb Bush,
who has extensive experience in the state of Florida with relief,
rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts following natural
disasters. Secretary Powell has already spoken with many of
his counterparts in the region, and with officials from the
United Nations, and other governments that are helping with
the response. Together, we are leading an international coalition
to help with immediate humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and
long-term construction efforts. India, Japan and Australia have
already pledged to help us coordinate these relief efforts,
and I’m confident many more nations will join this core group
in short order.
home, Americans are translating the blessings of our own country
into generosity to others. From charitable organizations to
private individuals to companies, our fellow citizens, on their
own initiative, are raising millions of dollars for relief efforts.
These Americans, donor and fundraiser alike, represent the best
of our country and offer an example to the world. Any American
who desires to donate to these efforts can easily do so online,
by accessing the USA FreedomCorps web site at www.usafreedomcorps.gov.
season when we gather with loved ones and count our many blessings,
we hold the victims of this terrible tragedy in our hearts and
prayers. And let us be mindful that even in this modern age,
our world still requires compassion, tolerance and generosity
from each of us.
I send our condolences to all whose hearts are filled with grief
this New Year’s Day; and to our fellow Americans, we wish you
peace and happiness in the coming year.
‘Angels’ Delivering Relief Supplies to Indonesia
By Jim Garamone
2005 — U.S. Navy helicopters "appeared like angels"
as they delivered supplies to Aceh province, Indonesia, according
to the provincial governor.
Rodger Welch told reporters during a teleconference that provincial
officials appreciate the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group
now afloat off the island of Sumatra.
Air Wing 2 helicopters are delivering supplies to the most badly
damaged area following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami
that hit on Christmas. Officials in the region said the death
toll is approaching 150,000. Millions more across the Indian
Ocean are homeless.
said the death toll in Indonesia alone may exceed 100,000. Thailand,
Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Maldives, India and Somalia were hit
by the tsunamis spawned by the earthquake.
U.S. military assessment teams report that Thailand is handling
the unprecedented situation well. Sri Lanka is making progress
with supplies backing up at the main airport in the capital
of Colombo. India has a well-developed infrastructure and is
dong well. Indonesia, however, was the hardest hit, and the
infrastructure in Aceh province effectively was destroyed. "There
is like one road in Aceh," Welch said.
helicopters are delivering relief supplies to the tens of thousands
of people who need them. The helicopters are also transporting
those in need of medical care. The sailors are working with
the Indonesian military, relief organizations and other governmental
groups to get the supplies to those most in need, Welch said.
aboard the ships in the battle group are readying relief supplies
for delivery. "They are baking and freezing bread, for
example," Welch said. He said the carrier group also can
provide medical support, water desalination capabilities, bedding
and other capabilities the Indonesians need.
are moving into the region. The Air Force has sent 10 C-130
Hercules transport aircraft to lift supplies around the nations.
Two to four Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets are available
for heavy lift capabilities.
to the Lincoln Group, the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike
Group will move into the area as soon as Jan. 2, Welch said.
The sailors and Marines bring a lot of capabilities to the region.
Originally, the group was due to sail to Sri Lanka, but that
may change, Welch said.
also is sending Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit 6
from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to Indonesia, Welch said. The unit
– with a full laboratory – will help the Indonesian
medical establishment monitor water quality and check for the
presence of disease.
Force 536 at Utapao, Thailand, now has about 350 personnel and
is coordinating the U.S. military effort in the region. Welch
said the speed of the build-up is encouraging. "Remember,
this disaster struck just a week ago," he said.
ships have left Japan, Guam and Diego Garcia to deliver water,
food, medical supplies, trucks and heavy equipment. Those ships
should arrive in a week, Welch said.
in Aceh are grateful for the U.S. help, Welch said. Aceh province
has a long, festering Muslim revolt against the government in
Djakarta, and news reports in the past said al Qaeda terrorists
had found a welcome there. Welch said U.S. forces will take
whatever precautions they need to operate in the area. But,
in the aftermath of the disaster, U.S. personnel are not seeing
any hostility, he added.
this is the largest U.S. military effort of this type he can
remember. The scope of the disaster — it is 1,500 miles from
the base at Utapao to Sri Lanka, for instance — and the devastation
requires a worldwide response. The U.S. military has the unique
lift capabilities to deliver relief supplies quickly. U.S. personnel
also have experience working with allies. The effort in the
region now has forces from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany,
India, South Korea and Canada, among others.
Pledges $350M to Relief as Indonesia Missions Begin
By Jim Garamone
2004 — As teams assessing the impact of last week’s Indian
Ocean tsunami report their findings, President Bush has increased
U.S. aid to the region to $350 million – 10 times the
initial pledge made before the disaster’s scope unfolded.
are that more than 125,000 people were killed when a massive
earthquake on the ocean floor triggered deadly tidal waves.
have arrived and are flying helicopter relief missions in Aceh
province, Indonesia, said U.S. Pacific Command officials.
teams’ initial findings indicate the need for financial and
other assistance will steadily increase in the days and weeks
ahead. "I am today committing $350 million to fund the
U.S. portion of the relief effort," Bush said in a statement
put out by the White House. "Our contributions will continue
to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become
clearer." A high-level team led by Secretary of State Colin
Powell and including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose state was
battered by hurricanes this fall, will head to the region Jan.
States is leading a core group that also includes India, Australia
and Japan in coordinating the international relief efforts.
Canada also has volunteered to help this core group.
of the damage is greatest in Aceh, officials said. A 9.0 magnitude
earthquake struck Christmas morning, followed minutes later
by a tsunami that inundated parts of the island. Later, the
tsunami struck Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Malaysia
and Somalia. Three military assessment teams are in Sri Lanka,
Thailand and Indonesia. The teams are working closely with the
host nations to assess the situation and rush supplies to the
most critical areas.
Rodger Welch, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Interagency
Coordination Group in Hawaii, said Indonesia "is the most
impacted area" and the country will "require the most
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group is operating off the island
of Sumatra, and helicopters assigned to the group are ferrying
supplies into the region and flying casualties out of the area.
Assessment teams in Aceh will decide what other assistance the
sailors and Marines aboard the ships can provide.
Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group also is rushing
to the area and is expected to enter the Straits of Malacca
in a few days. The group is scheduled to move to Sri Lanka,
but Welch said that may change as more information becomes available.
"Some of the ships may go to Sri Lanka, while others go
to different areas," he said during a teleconference from
in the region are complicated. In Aceh, only daylight operations
are possible, and pilots must fly using visual flight rules.
Other areas are better equipped, and the assessment teams are
trying to ascertain the status of airfields not only in Indonesia,
but also around the Indian Ocean rim.
airlifters will go to the region, Welch said. Two to four C-17
Globemaster III cargo jets will help in the effort, as will
six more C-130 Hercules transports. Twelve more helicopters
– six CH-53s and six CH-46s – are moving to the
area. The C-130s and helicopters already on the scene are ferrying
relief supplies to the hardest-hit areas, Welch said. He noted
that the helicopters are incredibly important, because in many
cases supplies have arrived at airports, but could not be distributed
out of the area. The helicopters will solve that problem, he
ships from Diego Garcia and Guam will arrive shortly with relief
supplies including water and water-making capacity. The ships
also carry trucks and heavy construction equipment that will
enable host nations to reopen roads.
U.S. personnel are manning Joint Task Force 536 in Utapao, Thailand.
The base is centrally located for the relief effort. P-3 Orion
surveillance aircraft and C-130s already are operating out of
Aircraft, Personnel Converge on Disaster Zone
By Jim Garamone
2004 – The U.S. Joint Task Force set up to provide assistance
to the nations affected by last weekend’s Indian Ocean
tsunami is up and running, and Marine assessment teams have
started to report their findings.
115,000 people are estimated to have died in the tsunamis that
struck on Christmas. U.S. forces are in the region to help the
affected nations in whatever needs to be done.
States will deliver “as much help as soon as we can, as
long as we’re needed,” said Navy Capt. Roger Welch,
chief of U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Interagency Coordination
Group in Hawaii.
and personnel are converging on the affected areas. Nine P-3
Orions are helping with aerial reconnaissance, 10 C-130 Hercules
cargo aircraft are in the area and already have started delivering
supplies, and three teams – in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka
– are helping local authorities with disaster assessments.
systems are coming from Guam and Diego Garcia to deliver supplies
to the hardest-hit areas. These ships contain 450,000 gallons
of water and the capability of making 90,000 gallons of fresh
water each day.
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group is transiting through the
Straits of Malacca now and will take up a position off the coast
of Sumatra. The group will be well placed to provide support
to the Indonesian province of Aceh. The Lincoln group will be
there Dec. 31, said Navy officials.
Bonhomme Richard Marine Strike Group left Guam and is sailing
for a position off Sri Lanka. That group should arrive in a
week, officials said.
of the disaster is almost beyond comprehension, officials said.
A 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia destroyed
buildings in nearby Aceh and also loosed tsunamis that struck
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Malaysia, the Maldives
and Somalia. The coastal areas of these nations have been wiped
out, and water and aid are necessary to prevent more deaths.
getting an accurate assessment is key. “Some of these
areas are remote,” Welch said during a teleconference
call. “We have to go out and ‘surveille’ –
that’s what the P-3s are doing, as well as some of the
helicopters (off the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group).”
effort is in support of the local authorities. These are sovereign
nations, Pentagon officials said. “The United States is
not there to take over the rescue or relief effort,” an
official said. “We are there to provide whatever help
they decide they need.”
Force 536, formed specifically for the relief effort, is running
at Utapao, Thailand.
fresh water seems to be the first need in the affected regions.
“People are drinking contaminated water,” he said.
The countries also need food, medical supplies, heavy equipment,
trucks and building supplies. Much of this will be available
from the pre-positioned ships, officials said
Toll Hits 120,000; 10 Israelis Still Missing
(IFM) The number of fatalities from the tsunami that hit the
Southeast Asia region kept on rising to an estimated 120,000,
Ha’Aretz reported. The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced
Thursday, December 30, 2004 that Thai authorities had identified
the body of a missing Israeli tourist. The announcement came
as 10 Israelis are still missing in the area, five of whom have
most likely been killed in the disaster. Of the 10, five are
missing in Thailand, four in Sri Lanka, and one in India’s Andaman
Islands. Many parts of the northern Sumatra island have yet
to be reached by rescue crews and the toll is expected to rise.
who had been missing after Sunday’s tsunami have been found.
Seven other Israelis were evacuated Wednesday by military helicopter
from the tsunami-stricken area in southern Sri Lanka. One of
the group received medical treatment aboard the helicopter after
sustaining injuries in the disaster.
of Israelis who have yet to make contact with their families
or Israeli officials fell early Thursday to 17, with embassy
officials estimating that the number will continue to fall throughout.
two Israeli women who were moderately to seriously hurt in the
tsunami were admitted Wednesday to a Bangkok hospital. Both
are suffering from multiple contusions and fractures, and one
of them underwent surgery Wednesday night. Hospital sources
said they expected doctors to allow them to fly back to Israel
within a few days.
Says 2 Israelis Might Be Among
74,000 Killed by Tsunami
(IFM) As the death toll in the tsunami disaster that hit Southeast
Asia on Sunday climbed toward 74,000, Thailand’s Department
of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said Wednesday, December
29, 2004 that two Israelis were among 473 foreigners killed
there, HA’ARETZ reported. The identity of the victims
has not been communicated as yet.
Israelis are still missing from the Thai tourist resorts of
Koh Phi Phi and Phuket, Israeli consul in Thailand Ya’akov Dvir
said today. The Foreign Ministry focused its efforts Tuesday
on locating Israelis in Thailand, after it became clear that
there were no Israeli casualties in any other location, including
the Andaman Islands.
33 Israelis in Thai hospitals Tuesday, four of whom are in critical
condition. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that as soon as
their medical condition allowed it, the injured Israelis would
be flown to Bangkok, from where they would be airlifted back
Of the 2,000
Israelis who were known to be in areas hit by the tidal wave
in Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands, some
1,400 had been contacted by the Foreign Ministry by Tuesday
evening. Hundreds more contacted their families directly.
psychologists, forensics experts and ZAKA rescue and recovery
officials were en route to Southeast Asia to help relatives
locate and identify their loved ones. The Israeli rescue officials
are bound for the Thai capital of Bangkok. Another plane is
set to fly to Sri Lanka, carrying tents, generators, blankets,
medical equipment and other items meant to help those whose
belongings have been destroyed in the disaster.
Sends Aid to Thailand, Sri Lanka
Meshi Zahav, head of Israel’s Zaka rescue unit, views
corpses of tsunami victims that were brought from Phi
Phi island to a temple in the coastal city of Krabi on
December 30, 2004. The death toll in the Indian Ocean
tsunami disaster soared above 120,000 on Thursday as millions
scrambled for food and fresh water and thousands more
fled in panic to high ground on rumors of new waves.
by Stringer / Thailand / Reuters
As the world is preparing what United Nation’s officials titled
"the most expensive aid relief mission" for 10 Southeast
Asia countries, Israel is sending several delegations to Sri
Lanka and Thailand, the Jerusalem Post reported. India, unlike
Thailand and Sri Lanka, has not requested any Israeli assistance.
of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said an immediate decision
to send $100,000 worth of food and medical supplies had been
made. Israel will ship10 tons of relief aid to Sri Lanka. An
Israeli medical mission to Thailand was dispatched by the Health
Ministry on Monday. Headed by associate director-general Boaz
Lev, it includes five physicians and four nurses from Ichilov,
Ha’emek, Beilinson and Kaplan hospitals. Israel dispatched a
15-person medical team, including nine army doctors, to Phuket,
Thailand, Monday night to assist rescue operations.
of Israelis Missing in Southeast Asia
Following Earthquake Disaster
(IFM) With a the death toll from Sunday’s earthquake in Southeast
Asia reaching an estimated 23,000, Foreign Ministry officials
said Monday, December 27, 2004 that while 450 Israelis in the
region had so far been contacted, hundreds were still missing,
reports the Jerusalem Post. Between 7 and 14 Israelis are known
to have been injured in the aftermath of the natural disaster.
The missing list includes 160 Israelis on the Andaman Islands
in the Bay of Bengal; 270 in southern Thailand; 60 in Sri Lanka
and around 50 people in southern India.
Ministry officials and doctors flew to Southeast Asia today
to search for missing Israeli tourists and provide assistance
to countries struck by the massive earthquake and tidal waves.
Israeli army doctors are to offer medical assistance in Thailand
and Sri Lanka, and army teams will look for missing Israelis
in southern India. Foreign Ministry Director-General Ron Prosor
said that Israel would dispatch $100,000 worth of medicine and
food to Thailand and India. In addition, a Foreign Ministry
delegation including three top doctors from the Hadassah Hospital
in Jerusalem and an officer from the Home Front Command departed
for the area to provide emergency assistance.
of Foreign Affairs Shalom said Israel would assist its citizens
in every way possible and also offered Israel’s assistance to
the nations struck by the natural disaster.
on Bay of Bengal Earthquake and Tidal Waves
of the American people, the President expresses his sincere condolences
for the terrible loss of life and suffering caused by the earthquake
and subsequent tsunamis in the region of the Bay of Bengal.
States stands ready to offer all appropriate assistance to those
nations most affected including Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand,
and Indonesia, as well as the other countries impacted. Already
relief is flowing to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We will work
with the affected governments, the United Nations, non-governmental
organizations, and other concerned states and organizations to
support the relief and response to this terrible tragedy.
extend our sincere condolences to all the people of the region
at this time of suffering.
Community to Aid Nations
Hit by Quake, Tsunami
By Steve Herman
around the world, as well as non-profit organizations, are pledging
support for victims of Sunday’s massive earthquake and resulting
tsunamis that have affected more than a million people across
the Bay of Bengal and in Indian Ocean coastal communities. Some
relief and personnel are already on their way.
one of the first countries to respond to appeals for international
Monday morning dispatched a disaster relief team of 21 doctors
and nurses to Sri Lanka. Leading the team is Hiroyuki Yokota,
a professor at the Nippon Medical School’s emergency care department.
says the team wants to do all it can to treat the injured and
thus it is important to get there as quickly as possible.
Red Cross Society says it will provide about $1 million to areas
hit by the quake and tsunamis. It has an emergency response unit
standing by to help establish temporary hospitals and to provide
the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
is appealing for more than $6 million for "immediate support"
targeted at some 500,000 survivors with immediate needs.
Manmohan Singh of India – itself dealing with tsunami casualties
– says he has written to the leaders of Indonesia, Sri Lanka,
Thailand and the Maldives, offering official assistance.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Australian Broadcasting
Corporation Monday Canberra is providing more than $7 million
in emergency funds. "The government is prepared to make an
initial contribution to assist with relief effort. We might have
to provide more than that as time goes on," he said. "Also
we have some capacity to deliver fresh water, bottled water, tarpaulins
and those kinds of things to assist people."
Commission says it is in close contact with its staff in the region
and with organizations, such as the Red Cross, to assess where
aid will be most needed. The 25-nation bloc is making an immediate
pledge of more than $3 million in cash aid.
Tens of thousands
of Europeans, Australians and Japanese were reported to be on
vacation on the beaches of Thailand, Sri Lanka and other countries
when the massive waves hit Sunday.
A White House
spokesman says the United States will provide appropriate aid
and says some relief is already on its way to Sri Lanka and the
Maldives. U.S. officials say they will provide further assistance
in cooperation with other countries and international organizations,
including the United Nations.
organization, Doctors Without Borders, is sending 32 tons of medical
and sanitation supplies by plane to Indonesia’s Sumatra Island,
the area closest to the quake’s epicenter.
Says Cost of Tsunami Disaster Without Precedent
By Peter Heinlein
U.N. emergency relief agency is struggling to respond to a natural
disaster that has brought death and destruction to at least eight
countries. Senior officials estimate this could be the costliest
disaster in history.
As he briefed
reporters Monday, an obviously worried U.N. Undersecretary General
Jan Egeland said it is far too early to determine the scope of
figures we have now are so wrong that in many ways it may be wrong
to really present them," Mr. Egeland says.
Mr. Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said death
and damage tolls are rising by the hour. He expressed concern
that in some of the hardest hit areas, particularly in Indonesia,
he has still not even heard from U.N. staff.
are many communities in Indonesia, which are closest to the epicenter,
and therefore the tsunami would be at its biggest, where we haven’t
even a clue of how many have been affected," Mr. Egeland
says. "These are some of the smaller communities in Sumatra.
Certainly Bandar Aceh is a very grave concern, and it is not good
that I cannot communicate with our people there, of which we have
many local staff, not even with satellite phone, which could be
an indication that something very bad has happened."
said, although the killer wave that hit the south Asian coastline
was not the biggest in recorded history, it may have been the
most destructive, because several hard-hit countries are among
the world’s most heavily populated.
He said the
eight worst-hit countries, in order of magnitude, were Indonesia,
Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Maldives, Malaysia, Burma and Bangladesh.
appeal for aid is to be launched in the next few days. Mr. Egeland
expressed concern, however, that several rich donor countries
are becoming less generous, even as needs continue to grow.
more generous when we were less rich, many of the rich countries.
It is beyond me why we are so stingy," Mr. Egeland says.
"Actually foreign assistance for many countries now is 0.1
or 0.2 percent of gross national income, that is stingy."
of State Colin Powell Monday said the United States would give
an initial 15 million dollars in relief assistance. In addition,
several disaster assessment teams are being sent to determine
what else can be done to help victims.
relief coordinator Jan Egeland said among the happiest developments
following the quake and tidal wave has been the response capacity
of local relief agencies. He said in places such as Indonesia,
Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and Thailand, local and national authorities
have displayed a "remarkable resilience". He added that,
while the international response has been overvalued, the local
response has been undervalued.
Group Commander: Ships Ready to Assist
By Journalist 1st Class (SW) Joaquin Juatai, USS
Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs
ABOARD USS ABRAHAM
LINCOLN, At sea (NNS) — In response to requests for assistance
by governments in the region, U.S. 7th Fleet directed USS Abraham
Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group to proceed from a recent port
visit in Hong Kong to assist in humanitarian and disaster relief
missions in the wake of recent multiple and devastating Indian Ocean
Ocean (Jan. 2, 2005) – Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joshua
Savoy and Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Davy Nugent prepares
bread in the bakery aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) for the victims of the Tsunami-stricken
areas of Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia. Abraham Lincoln Carrier
Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian Ocean
off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand.
by Photographer’s Mate Airman Apprentice Timothy C. Roache
Jr. / U.S. Navy Photo
to Rear Adm. Doug Crowder, commander, Abraham Lincoln Carrier
Strike Group (ALCSG), the call for ALCSG to respond came as no
surprise, as they are a major force in the region and able to
was a horrible event. A lot of human suffering is involved,”
said Crowder. “We’ve got the capability to go in to
an area and provide some help.”
plans as to where the strike group will go and what kind of assistance
they will provide are still forthcoming, according to Crowder,
ALCSG is the right force to have in the region at the right time.
have the ability to go anywhere in this area of responsibility
on virtually no notice,” he said. “This humanitarian
aid mission is now our mission, and we have the capabilities to
that assets of ALCSG include the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing
(CVW) 2, commanded by Capt. Lawrence Burt. According to Burt,
CVW-2 has a lot to offer to humanitarian efforts.
air wing is unique in that we have two helicopter squadrons deployed
with us vice just one,” Burt said. He added that, in addition
to the 15 helicopters of embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron
(HS) 2 and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light Squadron (HSL) 47,
several of the ships in the strike group also employ the helicopter
squadrons giving ALCSG mobility access from more than one platform.
two C-2 Greyhounds, also known as Carrier Onboard Delivery planes
or CODs, which are capable of carrying several thousand pounds
of cargo from the beach to the carrier for further distribution.
The E-2C Hawkeye aircraft of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116
can provide search and rescue support, as can the F/A-18 Hornets
and Super Hornets of the air wing, according to Burt.
have a lot of capabilities,” said Crowder. He added the
strike group, one of the first to surge deploy under the Navy’s
Fleet Response Plan (FRP), wouldn’t be available to help
if it hadn’t been for the new methods of training and deployment
used under FRP.
flexibility of naval forces allows us to drop what we’re
doing and respond to a higher priority mission, Crowder explained.
of coming out of Hong Kong the other day and turning north, we
came out and turned south, and we’re speeding now toward
this area of suffering (to lend assistance),” he added.
“It’s that kind of flexibility that we bring to the
force that allows us to do these sorts of things.”
to Crowder, these tragic events also bring out the best in ALCSG
bring with us 6,500 men and women of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier
Strike Group, and I know almost everyone is eager to roll their
sleeves up if that’s what it comes to and help their fellow
man,” he said
they’re heading south toward the affected region, the Abraham
Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has yet to receive precise orders
as to what assistance they will lend. Until the order is given,
the men and women of the ships and air wing are doing all they
can to be prepared to lend assistance in whatever manner possible.”
Offers Tips for Searching the Whereabouts of Tsunami Victims
At the FBI Website the Following Information is Offered for Those
Searching for Tsunami Victims
check the following websites that have been specially created to
help you investigate missing, deceased, injured, and verified safe
Americans involved in the Southeast Asian Tsunami:
unidentified tourist lies next to a child at a shelter in
Colombo December 27, 2004 after a tsunami hit island’s coastal
area. Hundreds of wounded and displaced foreigners waited
for flights home on Monday after Sri Lanka’s coastal belts
were hit by a devastating tsunami that killed at least 4,
by Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi / Reuters
site allows you to post a message and a photo of a potential victim.
The local hospitals are said to have access to it. You can review
thousands of names and photos here.
that post lists of injured and dead:
US Embassy/Consular Website at Bangkok is http://bangkok.usembassy.gov
If you fail
all attempts to locate a person, after checking with logical friends
and relatives, and their points of contact, consider consolidating
their information, and a digitized photo, into one report for
the U.S. Consulate in Bangkok. See this web for details about
the Consular efforts Here
We (the FBI)
earnestly hope these tips might help concerned persons resolve
some of their heartfelt questions.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Honors the Memory of the Victims of the
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunamis
Arnold Schwarzenegger honored victims of the Indian Ocean Earthquake
and Tsunamis by ordering Capitol flags and flags at all state
buildings flown at half-staff.
"Maria and I extend our heartfelt prayers
and sympathy to all those suffering as a result of the devastating
South Asia earthquake and tsunamis. Our thanks and best wishes
also go out to all Californians and people throughout the globe
who have generously answered the call to assist in relief efforts.
Today I ask Californians to join me in honoring the memory of
all the victims of this terrible tragedy and helping in any way
they can to relieve the tremendous pain and suffering for those
left behind," said Governor Schwarzenegger.
In conjunction with a proclamation issued by President
George W. Bush affecting the federal government, the flag at the
State Capitol and the flags at all state buildings will be flown
at half staff from Monday, January 3, 2005 through Friday, January
and additional information regarding where to find more information
about the disaster, where to find American citizens in the region
and participating in relief efforts visit:
the letter to Californians from Governor Schwarzenegger and First
Lady Maria Shriver regarding this disaster visit: