Tuesday, December 28, 2004


as of December 28th 2004:
Asia earthquake, tsunami death toll 36,946.
Officials fear the figure could rise to almost 57,000.

For up-to-date information about the disaster, see this map from Relief Web. http://www.reliefweb.int/w/fullMaps_Sa.nsf/luFullMap/284A84AB71636D2D49256F7900273450/$File/usds_quake_idn_281204.pdf?OpenElement.

Nature and its effects are transnational: Estimated deaths/ Injured by country as of 12/28:
Bangladesh 2 India 9,499 Indonesia 7,072 Kenya 1 Malaysia 59 218 Maldives 52 Myanmar 34 Somalia 38 Sri Lanka 18,706 Tanzania 10 Thailand 1,473. (By 12/29, the estimate nears 60.000.)

The Washington Post wrote: "Many specialists said yesterday that thousands of lives ....could have been saved if an early-warning systems had been in place...US officials said that they wanted to warn the countries but there was no mechanism to do so." (12/27/04 reprinted in Boston Globe: A11).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put out a bulletin warning, yet it didn't get through, or didn't have effects....?
Why didn't southern Thailand and other areas have that warning system? Why couldn't an Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration get in touch with the right people?
Not even a hotel concierge?

Shankar Vendantam's Washington Post article continues: "Even without a sophisticated early warning system, specialists said, just learning about the nature of tsunamis could have saved lives." (Apparently experts have long underestimated the possibilities of such tidal waves in the Indian ocean.)

* * *

To get political, let's look take a look at the ever-vigilant anti-anti-Americans -- Here's what Jeff the American posted to Aljazeera, showing that hallmark compassionate conservativism:

"dont waste your breath on a canadian. they are not worth it i was gonna send some money for the relief effort in indonesia, but as soon as i heard that our so-called allies and the rest of the world calling americans stingy? i said to [apparently deleted] with them, let them drink water and if they get hungry? there's plenty of fresh meat to eat. thanks canada"

The "stingy" remark was from a UN official, and referred to the West, and to giving to the poorer world in general, not in this instance.


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