News

Powell Heading for Tsunami Disaster Areas

Multimedia

Audio

World leaders will meet in Indonesia Thursday to discuss aid for victims of last week's earthquake and tsunami disasters. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell has left for Asia to visit some of the stricken areas in Thailand and Indonesia before going to the Jakarta conference.

Shortly before departing Sunday, Secretary Powell told CNN's Late Edition he believes the U.S. response to the devastation in Asia was prompt and generous. "This disaster took place just seven days ago. And during the first 24 hours, I called every single foreign minister of the affected nations, and said to them, the United States wants to help, the President stands ready to help. You let our embassies know what you need," he said.

The death toll from the 9.0 earthquake and the following tsunami is expected to surpass 150,000 people, in countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.

Washington has pledged $350 million in relief aid. But Secretary Powell said the U.S. contribution surpasses the official monetary figure. "Beyond the $350 million, our Department of Defense is spending tens of millions of dollars more, as we dispatched two carrier groups, a regular big aircraft carrier groups and a Marine amphibious group, to the region. And private donations are significant," he said.

The U.S. delegation to the stricken area includes President Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, who is the governor of Florida. The southeastern state was devastated by four hurricanes this year.

Speaking on the ABC television program This Week, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said he believes it will take years for some countries to recover. "It will differ from country to country, but my own sense is you probably have five to 10 years, and billions of dollars, because the devastation is enormous," he said.

The U.N. leader also will go to the international aid conference in Jakarta. Afterwards, U.N. officials say Mr. Annan will visit the hard-hit Indonesian island of Sumatra and Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization's David Nabarro told CNN caring for the injured is at the top of his agenda. "That's priority one. But then, for the whole population, as you've said, it's clean water. We've got to make sure water supplies are not polluted with feces and that sanitation is improved. Perhaps that's proving to be particularly challenging in Indonesia, and it's not easy in Sri Lanka," he said.

Dr. Nabarro said the WHO is worried about cholera and dysentery, but has no confirmed reports of either illness yet. "And malaria incidence is not yet noted on the increase, but we are very worried about Aceh, because it's the rainy season, and it's the time when malaria does start to pick up. So, at the moment, [we hope], we have not got reports of epidemics, but it would be foolish of us to assume we're through the worst. Indeed, it's during the next week that we really have to be most concerned," he said.

Dr. Nabarro said there has been an increase in the number of cases of diarrhea in stricken areas around the region. The head of the United Nations Children's Fund, Carol Bellamy, told CNN diarrhea is especially a problem for children. "Diarrhea is something we've all had if we've traveled. But in children, it can lead to dehydration and to death. And this is something that can have an enormous impact on children," she said.

The Indonesian ambassador to the United States, Boemadi Brotodiningrat, listed other priorities. "Well, apart from food and medicines, we need shelter, because there are so many buildings which are destroyed. So, all those refugees are sheltered basically in the open area and we need tents for them," he said.

The Indonesian ambassador said his country also needs international help developing better communications.

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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs