News

Powell Expects Massive International Response to Tsunami Disaster

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he expects international contributions to countries hit by the earthquake and tsunami disaster to be in the billions of dollars. Mr. Powell, in morning TV interviews Tuesday, rejected a UN official's comment that the response of the United States and other Western nations thus far has been "stingy."

The U.S. commitment to relief efforts from the earthquake and tidal wave disaster thus far is about $15 million. But officials here say U.S. pledges will increase sharply, and rapidly, as the extent of damage and appeals from hard-hit countries are examined.

They are bristling over a remark Monday by U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland that the United States and other wealthy nations are being "stingy" with relief funds.

Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the issue in an unusual set of appearances on five TV network morning programs Tuesday.

He said far from being stingy, the United States is the world's single-greatest contributor to international disaster relief, anti-AIDS and food programs, and that tsunami assistance pledges announced thus far are just a starting point.

Mr. Powell told the NBC Today  program he has contacted every one of his foreign minister colleagues from affected countries and told them to inform local U.S. embassies what their assistance needs will be. He said he expects the combined response from the United States and other major donor states to ultimately be in the billions of dollars.

"We'll have to wait and see what the needs actually are,” said Mr. Powell.  “But clearly the United States will be a major contributor to this international effort. And yes, it will run into the billions of dollars. Villages have been wiped out, schools wiped out, but it will take a while to make sure we have a good understanding of what the needs are."

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sent more than 20 disaster experts to stricken countries to assess their needs. The U.S. military's Pacific Command is also responding, dispatching nine patrol planes to the region to assist in search and rescue operations. Twelve U.S. military cargo planes have been sent to transport relief supplies.

The earthquake and tidal waves struck as thousands of American and other tourists were spending year-end holidays at resorts around the Indian Ocean. Secretary Powell said hundreds of U.S. citizens remain unaccounted for, though they are not necessarily among the casualties. He said there are 11 confirmed American deaths and that a number of others are being treated for injuries.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs