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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.