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Government Officials to Travel Around Somalia to Assess Damage


Somalia's new government plans by the end of the week to visit areas of Somalia most affected by the recent Asian tidal wave, while the International Committee of the Red Cross is sending out a relief shipment from Kenya to Sri Lanka to help victims there.

Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Gedi announced in Nairobi Tuesday that he is set to head a delegation to tour the devastation wrought by Sunday's Asian tidal wave.

"Basically, my trip to Somalia is to assist the international organizations to support the affected people and the victims on the ground," he said.

Mr. Gedi says more than 100 people were killed by huge waves from Sunday's tsunami and more than 150 injured. He says the Puntland region is the most affected area.

Mr. Gedi, whose government is still based in Kenya because of security concerns, says United Nations agencies are already on the ground distributing food and other supplies to victims.

But, he says, more help is needed.

"The type of assistance I am requesting is food, shelter, and medicines, as well as water," he added.

Sunday's tidal wave, caused by an earthquake in the ocean near the coast of Indonesia, has killed more than 40,000 people in such countries as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Maldives, and has wrecked massive devastation all over.

Huge waves radiated out to East Africa, hitting the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, and Seychelles in the process. The waves killed at least 10 people in Tanzania and one person in Kenya, with several injuries and destruction of properties.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday it is sending 105 metric tons of emergency supplies to Sri Lanka from Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Sri Lanka has been one of the most stricken by Sunday's tidal wave.

Red Cross communications officer Aleksandra Matijevic explains why the shipment is coming from Nairobi.

"Basically in Nairobi we have the largest logistics center for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the world," said Ms. Matijevic. "We stock enough emergency supplies to be able to respond to various emergencies in the region."

She says the Red Cross has sent aid over to Indonesia from Kenya in the past. Tuesday's shipment includes blankets, jerry cans, water buckets and medical emergency kits to assist some 50,000 people affected by the disaster.

She says many of the supplies have been manufactured in Kenya.

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