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Ex-U.S. Presidents To Aid Victims

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush will lead a fund-raising effort for survivors of the Asian tsunamis. The earthquake-induced tidal waves inundated parts of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other Indian Ocean countries, killing some one-hundred-fifty-five thousand people.

President George W. Bush said the two ex-presidents will encourage individual Americans and businesses to continue to support international aid to the devastated areas:

"In the weeks since the tsunami struck, private citizens have contributed millions of dollars for disaster relief and reconstruction. Organizations like the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, the Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF, and America Cares responded rapidly after the tsunamis hit. They have reported an outpouring of generosity from around the world."

A massive U.S. relief operation continues. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. military are providing emergency humanitarian assistance including water, food, plastic sheeting for shelter, and other supplies in Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. U.S. military transport planes and ships are ferrying supplies to the battered region. The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln is stationed off Banda Aceh, Indonesia, with a fleet of Sea Hawk helicopters flying in more than forty-two thousand kilograms of supplies.

The U.S, said President Bush, will continue to play a leading role in relief efforts:

"Our nation has committed military assets and made an initial commitment of three-hundred-fifty million dollars for disaster relief. We're working with the United Nations and with governments around the world to coordinate the comprehensive international response. American military assets in the region are now aiding recovery efforts. Patrol and cargo aircraft have been surveying damage and delivering supplies for several days. Air Force C-130s are flying aid missions twenty-four hours a day."

In some places, it will take years to rebuild, but every step of the way, the U.S. will be there to help. "We hold the victims of this terrible tragedy in our hearts and prayers," said President Bush. "Let us be mindful that even in this modern age, our world still requires compassion, tolerance and generosity from each of us."