Wednesday, December 29

Linkin Park sets up site for Tsunami Relief

From VH1 News:

Awed, humbled and shocked by the destruction caused by the tsunamis that hammered southern Asia earlier this week, Linkin Park have teamed up with the American Red Cross to establish Music for Relief, a charity dedicated to providing aid to victims
of the tragedy.

Linkin Park have donated $100,000 to get things going, and they're hoping their fans and musical brethren will follow suit.

"As a band, we were in a position to help, but this needs to be a lot broader effort — both by our fans and by other musicians," Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson said. "If one of our fans can donate $10, then that's going to help, and the faster we can do it, the better.

"Here in the States, we might not think that we're directly affected by all this, but we can help. And the more we can do, and the quicker we can do it, the more lives we can save," Delson continued. "Obviously, there's been a horrendous, unparalleled loss of life. But a lot more people are going to die from being homeless and the problems with the water and diseases."

On Sunday morning, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook the floor of the Indian Ocean, stirring up massive tidal waves — called tsunamis — that smashed into coastlines from Indonesia to Somalia. In the aftermath, the death toll in southern Asia has climbed to more than 52,000, according to CBS News. The United Nations has estimated that at least a third of the dead were children.

Millions more remain homeless, and though they've survived the tidal waves, the worst may still lie ahead: Officials with the World Health Organization worry that diseases spread in the tsunamis' wake — cholera, malaria and other communicable diseases associated with a lack of clean water and sanitation — could claim even more lives.

"The whole thing is really a race against time," Delson said.

In June, Linkin Park played a massive outdoor concert at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. Today, a few miles away, that city's international airport serves as a makeshift triage station, with victims of the disaster receiving medical treatment on the tarmac.

"We played what was the largest Thai concert in the past 10 years. It was an amazing show, and I carry with me the hospitality of the Thai people and the people of southern Asia," he said. "And having been there, I can just say that people there were so welcoming to us, and I really hope that through this effort we can help in some small way."

Aid agencies around the world, including the American Red Cross and Britain's Oxfam, are mounting what U.N. officials are already calling largest emergency relief effort in history. Hundreds of tons of food, medicine and blankets are arriving daily in hard-hit countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and nations like the U.S., Japan and Australia have already pledged more than $40 million in aid. But more help is desperately needed; the U.N. has said that the disaster caused "many billions of dollars" of damage and may be the costliest ever.

"We don't have a specific monetary goal right now," Delson said. "But we hope that anyone and everyone who can help will. We hope people will contribute what they can, because we can really save lives."

Donations can be made via MusicForRelief.org, which goes live Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, or via the American Red Cross' Web site, RedCross.org.

Other organizations assisting in the relief effort include:
American Friends Service Committee
www.afsc.org
(888) 588-2372


Direct Relief International
www.directrelief.org
(805) 964-4767


Doctors Without Borders
www.doctorswithoutborders.org
(877)-REFUGEE

2 comments:

Vyan said...

Dear MoveOn member,

The tsunami in southern Asia and Africa may be the worst natural disaster of our time. More than 116,000 lives were wiped out within hours. The toll in death and suffering from smashed cities, broken families, rampant disease, and crippled economies cannot even be calculated. In the face of this horror, MoveOn members have poured in requests to help, asking how we can push through our sadness and lend a hand.

-----------------------
Millions of lives are on the line. The U.S. government can lead billions of dollars of aid into the tsunami relief effort, if it chooses. Let Congress and the President know that Americans are supporting strong leadership in this relief effort.

Take Action--------------------

Rising to this challenge is at the heart of global leadership, and the world is depending on us. The U.S. government can lead billions of dollars of aid into this relief effort, if it chooses. Americans are generous and ready to step forward, but the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration have made a weak initial contribution to the effort -- first offering $15 million and then $35 million when they came under pressure. Clearly, we can do more.

Let Congress and the President know that Americans are supporting strong leadership in this relief effort -- that millions of lives are at stake and we have to help. In this hour of need, if America chooses to embrace our role as a world leader, we can have an unparalleled impact. Send a message to our leaders at:

http://www.moveon.org/tsunamirelief/But we can't just wait for this Congress to move. We can help directly, as individuals, and save lives today. Our friends at Oxfam are already scrambling on the front lines to fight off starvation and disease -- and beginning to rebuild. Because Oxfam has worked for years with grassroots groups in the hardest hit areas, they were able to mobilize local leadership to help survivors immediately after the tsunami hit. And Oxfam will be there for the long-term, helping communities recover and regain their ability to meet basic needs. Oxfam needs to raise $5 million immediately to provide safe water, sanitation, food, shelter, and clothing to 36,000 families in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. Your contribution can make this possible.

Please give what you can, at:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=631

Of course, Oxfam is only one of dozens of great organizations, like UNICEF, CARE, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent, rushing to help with the immediate need. Their efforts give the victims a head start, but it won't be enough unless the great nations of the world step forward in a big way for the long-term challenges.

Indonesia, by far the hardest hit country, is also the world's largest Muslim nation. Their estimated death toll stands at 85,000 -- in some areas, 1 out of 4 people have already been killed. Now it's time for America to show its true colors. We want to be known as a nation that leads the world with compassion, generosity, and community -- not with disastrous foreign military adventures. We are a nation that values human life, family, and extending freedom and opportunity to where it is most needed. We must now reach out in a serious way to do just that.

The $35 million offered by the Bush administration seems like a lot of money, but it's insignificant compared to what's needed in a disaster relief effort than spans continents and is expected to be the most expensive in history. To put it in perspective, we're spending $35 million in Iraq every 7 hours. (The Bush administration is about to ask for another $80 billion to cover the next installment of this tragic occupation.)1

We can and will do better. Thanks for doing your part to show the true generosity of the American spirit.

Sincerely,

--Adam, Ben, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Justin, Laura, Mari, Noah, Rosalyn, and Wes
The MoveOn.org Team
December 30th, 2004

P.S. Just as we were finalizing this email, we received a note from 17-year-old MoveOn member Annalise Blum, who has a great idea for New Year's Eve parties. Here's her email:


Dear Joan and Wes,
We arrived in Cambodia today and turned on the TV in our hotel room to learn more about the Tsunami. It has been horrifying to follow the rising death toll and especially learn about all of the children who have died. I really wanted to do something when I learned that just as many more people could die from lack of access to clean water and the spread of disease if not enough is done quickly.

I realized that New Years Eve Parties would be a perfect place to have people contribute online to the relief effort. Someone in our group came up with the name "Throw out a lifeline Online."

If MoveOn were to send out a message to its members suggesting that they turn on a computer and donate money to one of the relief organizations at their new years eves parties, it could save thousands of lives. Maybe this sort of message would be a welcome opportunity for its members to help people directly. I would greatly appreciate anything you could do to help.

Below I have written a message I am planning send to my friends. MoveOn, if interested, could send out something similar.

Throw Out A Lifeline Online
Help the Victims of the South Asian Tsunami

As most of you undoubtedly know, many parts of the eastern coastal regions of South Asia were hit on Sunday, December 26th, with one of the largest tsunamis in recent history. The death toll of the tsunami, caused by an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude, has already risen to over 60,000 people. All regions affected are in desperate need of clean water, food, temporary shelter and medical help to the survivors. Some estimate that one third of the dead are children.

World Health Organization expert David Nabarro told reporters "there is certainly a chance that we could have as many dying from communicable diseases as from the tsunami".

Start this year off by contributing money to an effective aid organization to prevent this humanitarian catastrophe from getting even worse. If you are going to a New Year's Eve Party, make it meaningful by turning on a computer and encouraging everyone to donate.

Footnote:
1. Bush Says America Will Lead Global Relief Effort, Washington Post, December 30, 2004
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33290-2004Dec29.html

Vyan said...

Bush Says America Will Lead Global Relief EffortBy Jim VandeHei and Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 30, 2004; Page A01

CRAWFORD, Tex., Dec. 29 -- President Bush said Wednesday that the United States will spearhead a worldwide effort to provide financial, military and humanitarian assistance to the Asian nations devastated by one of the world's deadliest natural disasters.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Sunday's Indian Ocean tsunami, Bush told reporters that the United States, India, Japan and Australia are forming an international coalition to provide immediate relief and rescue assistance, as well as longer-term help with rebuilding.


Bush said the initial U.S. pledge of $35 million in direct financial aid is "only the beginning of our help."

Administration officials say Bush will pledge substantially more as damage assessments are completed. In the meantime, the administration has dispatched military personnel and equipment, including seven water-producing ships and one hospital vessel, as well as health experts to help stem the spread of deadly diseases in the flooded areas.

"These past few days have brought loss and grief to the world that is beyond comprehension," Bush said from his Texas ranch. "And together the world will cope with their loss. We will prevail over the destruction."

Bush's remarks followed several days of criticism that the United States has not been as swift or as generous as other countries in its response. Although administration officials said they had to assess the destruction before making specific commitments, there has been an outpouring of contributions from Americans to private and international aid groups.

A partial tally of two days of donations to CARE, one of the largest humanitarian groups, indicated about $7 million has been raised, CARE officials said. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF reported unprecedented contributions of almost $7 million as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, said Jeffrey Towers, a vice president of the fund. Web site donations on a typical day at this time of year usually produce $15,000.

Bush was criticized for not taking a break from his vacation until Wednesday to address the issue in person and for offering an initial pledge of only $15 million in assistance. The administration was pressed Wednesday to explain the timing and amount of its relief pledge.

"Moving a carrier strike force and a Marine expeditionary unit within 72 hours should not be considered dillydallying," State Department spokesman J. Adam Ereli said. "The planes are on the ground in Indonesia tonight." Rice and water-purification equipment have been unloaded in some stricken areas for distribution, U.S. officials noted.

Andrew S. Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said the United States had to await more detailed information. "We must respond to the needs assessed by technical experts on the ground or we're going to kill people," he said at a special State Department briefing.

But critics noted that the U.S. aid so far is about the equivalent of what the United States spends in seven hours for its military operations in Iraq. "We spend $35 million before breakfast every day in Iraq," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Leahy said Congress should include additional money for relief in upcoming spending measures for Iraq. Senate Democratic leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) said he was pleased that "the administration recognized that its initial offer of assistance was insufficient, and that it is now open to providing additional aid."

The usual U.S. contribution during major disasters is 25 to 33 percent of total international aid, according to J. Brian Atwood, a former USAID administrator. So far, the U.S. contribution is 13 percent of the $270 million in international aid that has been pledged, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Spain has pledged $68 million, almost twice what the United States has contributed so far. Japan has pledged $30 million, Britain $29 million, Australia $27.6 million, Germany $27 million, France $20.5 million and Denmark $15.5 million, the United Nations reported.

The current U.S. aid is also significantly lower than in other recent natural disasters. After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, when about 9,000 people were killed and 3 million were left homeless in Central America, the United States provided $988 million in relief assistance.

In Crawford, Bush dismissed as "misinformed" a U.N. official's remark suggesting that the United States was stingy. He noted that the country spent $2.4 billion on disaster relief aid in 2004, far more than any other nation. U.S officials predicted the biggest-ever U.S. response to a natural disaster in the weeks ahead. In addition to the need for altruism, some officials see the disaster as an opportunity to show the world, especially Muslim nations, the compassionate side of America that Bush speaks of when talking about the war on terrorism.

The president signaled on Wednesday that he will be taking a more public role than in past natural disasters outside the United States, though aides said he remains reluctant about thrusting himself into the center of the catastrophe. Bush called on Americans to contribute money -- not food or clothes -- to relief efforts, and he pledged to lobby other countries to open their wallets. "I think it's very important for Americans who want to give to provide cash to organizations that will be able to focus resources and assets to meet specific needs," he said.

Another potential form of aid may be debt relief for the stricken countries, an idea put forward by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. After speaking to the leaders of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India for the first time since the tsunami, Bush said the United States will consider the German proposal for a debt-payment moratorium for Indonesia and Somalia. "We're still in the stage of immediate help," he said. "But, slowly but surely, the size of the problem will become known, particularly when it comes to rebuilding infrastructure and community to help these affected parts of the world get back up on their feet."

U.N. officials said they received no advance word about the U.S.-led aid effort. There was concern at the United Nations that this may have been a consequence of criticism that the United States had not been generous.

U.S. disaster assistance relief teams are scheduled to arrive by Thursday in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to provide initial assessments of the damage and immediate needs, Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at Wednesday's State Department briefing.

In the initial phase of relief operations, the United States is focusing most urgently on water and sanitation "because that is the greatest risk to people's lives," Natsios said. "What's happened basically is that water and sewage systems are now combined because of the water surges that took place and the destruction that followed, and as a result, people are drinking sewage water," he said. "And that will substantially increase the risk of communicable disease and diarrheal disease, which could kill many people in epidemics if they get out of control." Three other areas of concern are food, medical care and shelter, he said.

The United States is also assisting in ways not covered by the $35 million, including sending Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials to the region to help protect residents from diseases that some experts worry could double the number of victims.

Bush pledged to work with other nations to create an early-warning system that experts say could have averted thousands of deaths had one been in place in the Indian Ocean. The United States has one in place in the Pacific, but Bush said he was not sure if it is adequate to protect Alaska, Hawaii and other areas.

"Clearly there was not a proper warning system in place for that part of the world, and it seems to me it makes sense for the world to come together to develop a warning system that will help all nations," Bush said.

The president asked Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans and Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton to investigate whether the United States is adequately prepared for tsunamis.

Wright reported from Washington. Staff writer Helen Dewar and researcher Robert Thomason contributed to this report