Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tsunami Orphans

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

The world has responded to the survivors of the earthquake-induced tsunamis, or tidal waves, that caused the deaths of more than one-hundred-fifty-thousand people living in countries along the Indian Ocean. More than two-billion dollars in assistance has been committed.

President George W. Bush says that the U.S. is "working with other governments, relief organizations, and the United Nations to coordinate a swift and effective international response:

"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."

Many children were apparently orphaned by the tsunamis. Ronald K. Noble, Secretary-General of Interpol, says that he is "very concerned about the fact that there can be attempts made to exploit the innocent in the wake of such a calamity."

Several countries, including Sri Lanka, have taken actions which U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says, "are responsible measures to suspend adoptions and safeguard the trafficking of tsunami orphans or children that are displaced due to tsunamis":

"It could be extremely difficult to determine whether children whose parents are missing are truly orphans while efforts to locate missing persons are still underway. I think that's especially true in this current situation, as many children have been separated from one or both of their parents. Indeed, even when children are orphaned, they're often taken in by other relatives, and that remains a preferable route."

It may take months before the situation in the countries hit by the tsunamis stabilizes. Mr. Boucher says "it would be only when those countries decide that these children are truly orphans that they could be made available for American citizens or other foreigners to adopt."