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Indonesia Tsunami Relief

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

Aid has reached even the most isolated areas of Indonesia's Aceh province. Shipments of supplies by land, supplementing those arriving by air, provide desperately needed relief to those in the town of Meulaboh, one-hundred kilometers from Banda Aceh, the provincial capital. Up to ninety percent of the roads and bridges to Meulaboh and other communities were washed away by the earthquake-induced tsunamis, or tidal waves.

President George W. Bush says that the United States has made an initial commitment of three-hundred-fifty-million dollars to help the people of the affected countries:

"Navy vessels, including the U-S-S Abraham Lincoln [an aircraft carrier], have moved into the region to help provide, food, medical supplies, and clean water. Helicopters and other military aircraft are meeting critical needs by airlifting supplies directly to victims in remote areas."

John Bernard, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy task force that is assisting Indonesia, says the operation is going well:

"I can say that relief is reaching Meulaboh. I cannot say that it is reaching everyone. I think it will be quite some time before everything [the people and their needs] is accounted for."

Over one-hundred-six-thousand Indonesians are dead, another twelve-thousand remain missing, and more than six-hundred-ninety-thousand have been displaced. Many coastal areas in Aceh were destroyed. Assessment teams from the U.S. say that the village of Cot Seulamat, located two-kilometers inland from the coast, has access to adequate water, but insufficient sanitation. In the village of Alur Raya, houses and water wells are filled with mud from nearby rice paddies.

President Bush says that in Indonesia and elsewhere, the United States will continue to help the people of the devastated region begin to rebuild. The U.S. has made a long-term commitment in this effort.