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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs