The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says that it could take years to rebuild from the Tsumanis, or earthquake-induced tidal waves that struck countries around the Indian Ocean.
In Sri Lanka, Thailand and India, people are cleaning up, organizing the delivery of relief supplies, and trying to recover from the impact of the destruction. Indonesia was hardest hit with ninety-thousand reported dead. Hanifa Alia is a physician working with survivors in Indonesia's Aceh province:
"They need medicine. They need help. They need everything."
The United States has committed three-hundred-fifty million dollars for relief. President George W. Bush says, "The carnage is of a scale that defies comprehension with over one-hundred-thousand deaths reported":
"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... 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."
Communications, roads and medical facilities have been badly damaged. Disease has become a very real threat to the survivors. "Relief resources," says Mr. Bush, "are stretched nearly to the limits":
"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 twenty patrol and cargo aircraft have been made available to assess the disaster and to 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."
The U.S. is working with the U.N. and with governments around the world to coordinate the international response. "As men and women across the devastated region begin to rebuild," says President Bush, the U.S. offers compassion, generosity, and the assurance "that America will be there to help."