The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
More than one-hundred-fifty-thousand people have died in the December 26th tsunamis – the earthquake-induced tidal waves that inundated parts of Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other Indian Ocean countries. An estimated three million to five million others have been affected. Many are homeless or without access to food, shelter, and medical treatment. Hardest hit is Indonesia with nearly one-hundred-thousand people reported dead, tens of thousands missing, and more than three-hundred thousand refugees.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is visiting the tsunami-ravaged countries. In Bangkok, Thailand, he spoke with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra:
"We of course have made it clear we will do everything that is necessary to support the countries in the region."
Mr. Powell says that the scale of the tragedy is overwhelming:
"I've never seen one single event that affected twelve countries and caused such incredible loss of life. And when you see what's happening in Indonesia and in Sri Lanka it truly is a tragedy of enormous proportions."
Relief officials say nearly two-million people are in need of food and medical assistance. James Kunder, a U-S-A-I-D official, says that helping people begin the task of rebuilding is also a priority:
"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".
More than two-billion dollars has been committed by nations, nongovernmental organizations, and the United Nations. The United States has pledged three-hundred-fifty-million dollars. In the words of President George W. Bush: "Together the world will cope with the loss and prevail over this destruction."