News

UN Says No Time Limits Should Be Put on Tsunami Military Aid

Multimedia

Audio

The United Nations' global relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, says no time limits should be put on military aid to the areas affected by the December 26th tsunami. Mr. Egeland's comments follow a U.S. State Department comment that Indonesia has set no deadline for the departure of foreign forces.

Military airplanes and ships have been providing medical supplies, fuel, food, heavy equipment and desperately needed clean water to Aceh and Sumatra in Indonesia, the areas worst hit by the tsunami. But government forces and separatist rebels in the devastated region have been involved in a civil war for 30 years. Indonesia says it will restrict the movement of foreign relief workers and at least one official, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, is calling on foreign troops to leave by the end of March.

But relief coordinator Jan Egeland says aid workers have yet to experience any restrictions. He says Aceh and Sumatra will continue to need outside help after March because of the depth of the destruction and the lack of infrastructure. Mr. Egeland says 10 helicopters donated to the U.N. relief effort are now being painted white, the color for civilian vehicles.

"I think there is a need for military assets beyond March, but nothing even close to the army that we have today. We should in the next few weeks be able to phase out many of the military assets and have them substituted by civilians. But I hope that our Indonesian friends and colleagues will accept that it is the needs of the population that will decide when military assets should be phased out completely. There will be many more weeks' need for very substantive military presence," he said.

Mr. Egeland says it will be another week before the human toll of the disaster is clear because of the inaccessibility of areas of Aceh and Sumatra and because so many of the people still considered missing actually fled to mountains and forests. But the U.N. relief chief says the global community's quick response to the disaster may avert the so-called second phase of death from disease and injury.

"The biggest threat is diarrhea, measles, pneumonia. The second wave is being averted in most places as we speak. I do not think it is the correct prediction anymore that as many people will die in the second wave as we feared in the beginnings. For the hundreds of thousand of i.d.p's (internally displaced persons) and unaccounted for in Sumatra and Aceh, we are still in an uphill battle," he said.

Mr. Egeland announced an international conference on disaster reduction next week (starting January 18)in Kobe, Japan, the site of a devastating earthquake 10 years ago. Much of the focus will be on developing a global early warning system for the three billion people in the world who live in areas prone to natural disaster.

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs