Since last year's tsunami, or earthquake-induced tidal waves, struck twelve countries in Southeast Asia, the United States has provided more than eight-hundred-forty million dollars in assistance. According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, private contributors in the U.S. have donated an additional one-billion-eight-hundred million dollars.
Citizens from many other countries have responded as well. President George W. Bush said, "The world has united behind this urgent cause":
"We are rushing food, medicine, and other vital supplies to the region. And we are focusing efforts on helping the women and children who need special attention, including protection from the evil of human trafficking."
In Indonesia, where some one-hundred-sixty-thousand people died in the December 26th tsunami, U.S.-supplied relief assistance has included temporary shelter, food, and water purification systems. The heavily-damaged road linking Banda Aceh to Meulaboh is being re-built.
In Sri Lanka, U.S. programs provided sanitation and household supplies to tsunami victims, provided food and logistics support for emergency feeding programs, put people to work doing post-tsunami clean-up, and provided transitional shelter benefiting over fifty-thousand victims. The U.S. also rebuilt schools and hospitals, provided grants and loans to businesses, and helped with fishing equipment to restore the livelihoods of over three-thousand fishermen.
In the Maldives, the U.S. provided temporary shelter materials, safe drinking water, and repairs to harbors and sewage systems. In Thailand, the U.S. replaced twenty fishing boats, and provided loans and training to help people make a living in small businesses and fisheries. Assistance was also given to Malaysia, Somalia, India, and the Seychelles. Also in the region, the U.S. is developing early warning systems and is cooperating with UNESCO's International Oceanographic Commission.
As President Bush put it, "The United States is committed to helping the people who suffer. We're committed today and we will be committed tomorrow."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.