Irish Republican News · December 29, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Ireland responds to Asian disaster
Ireland responds to Asian disaster

Irish aid agencies are receiving siginificant financial support for the victims of the Indian Ocean disaster, but are appealing for more.

Meanwhile, up to 20 Irish people are understood to be among the 3,500 foreign tourists still unaccounted for three days after the tsunamis struck regions bordering the Indian Ocean.

However, Dublin’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern warned that it could be “days if not weeks before a clearer picture emerges” of how many Irish people have been affected.

“Relatives of people in the stricken region should understand that communications systems are down in many areas,” he said.

Over 68,000 people have now been killed by the earthquake-generated tsunamis that crashed ashore on St Stephen’s Day in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Maldives.

The were an estimated 500 Irish people on holiday or resident in the nine countries when the disaster struck.

The Department is operating its helpline at 353-1-4082308.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched a fund-raising appeal to bring medical supplies, food, tents and other necessities to stricken people in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and the Maldives.

The ICRC is also helping to evacuate the wounded, remove bodies and assist families displace by the disaster.

UNICEF Ireland warned that millions of people across the affected region face a grave risk of water-borne diseases unless there is immediate, wide-scale action to provide safe water.

“The floods have contaminated the water systems, leaving people with little choice but to use unclean surface water,” UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Ms Maura Quinn said. “Under these conditions people will be hard put to protect themselves from cholera, diarrhoea and other deadly diseases.”

Children are particularly vulnerable to water-borne diseases. “Hundreds of thousands of children who survived the massive waves that destroyed their communities now risk getting seriously ill from something as simple as taking a drink of water,” Ms Quinn said.

Donations can be made to the Irish Red Cross by calling to itsoffice at 16 Merrion Square, Dublin 2,on-line at www.redcross.ie and by telephone on 1850 50 70 70.

Credit card donations can be made to UNCIEF Ireland by calling 1850 767 999 or online at www.unicef.ie or by post to UNICEF, Freepost, 25 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1. Donations can also be made through UNICEF’s AIB bank account, number 24070037, sort code 93-33-84.

© 2004 Irish Republican News