Hospitals & Asylums
US Congress and Treasury
$250 million Tsunami HA-26-12-04
Record 9.0 Earthquake and Tsunami with 114,000 mortalities
1. "I felt that this disaster was God's warning to Acehnese and Indonesians that we should get our acts together and learn the message behind this calamity," said Imran Hamid, 55, searching for his missing sister. Survivors saw the catastrophe as a divine message to end the province's long-running conflict.
2. The earthquake and tsunamis of Sunday 26 December 2004 were the first Ocean wide tsunami in history and attributed with over 114,000 deaths and over 1 million refugees is the most devastating tsunami -- a seismically-generated ocean wave -- triggered by an earthquake in history. With the contribution of $250 million for the first month health and welfare costs the US Congress shall indicate to the International Court of Justice the General Assembly must also contribute $750 million for a $1 billion total humanitarian assistance to be administrated before 28 June 2005 6 months from the printing of this Bill on 28 December 2004, day of seismic peace. To provide security for private contribution the US is recommended to take out a $250 million loan and pay it back with private donations and agency contributions. This is excellent opportunity for USAID to spend the $33 billion in private donations they have hoarded in 2004. To foster speedy tsunami settlement the IMF is recommended to grant full international debt relief credit for timely full payment December 2004, 75% in January 2005 or 50% anytime thereafter. It is therefore imperative that the US secure full payment of this $250 million amount with the IMF.
3. The US Geologic Survey reports, “A great earthquake occurred at 00:58:49 (UTC) on Sunday, 26 December 2004. The magnitude 9.0 event has been located OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA”. The devastating megathrust earthquake of December 26th, 2004 occurred on the interface of the India and Burma plates and was caused by the release of stresses that develop as the India plate subducts beneath the overriding Burma plate. It is the largest earthquake since the invention of the Richter scale and has been accompanied with numerous smaller quakes. The second largest stuck the Nicobar Islands, India Region with a magnitude 7.5 quake that occurred Sunday, 26 December 2004 at 04:21:25 UTC. Regional early warning systems in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India could have saved many lives by ordering the evacuation of areas within 5 meters of sea level when regional and global seismic activity become apparent. The earthquakes and resulting tsunami killed 48,924 people by 28 December 2004 that number was raised to 114,000 by 30 December 2004. In 1755, a tsunami originating with an earthquake in the Atlantic Ocean obliterated Lisbon and surrounding areas, killing 60,000 people. The 1883 tsunami triggered by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano on an island off Indonesia killed an estimated 36,000 people. Although tsunamis from Krakatoa reached as far as Australia and Hawaii, the waves were not very tall and therefore did very little damage. Almost all the devastation was confined to Indonesia's Java and Sumatra. The most recent catastrophic tsunami, in 1998 off Papua New Guinea, killed an estimated 2,200 people. The earthquake and tsunamis of 26 December 2004 is the first Ocean wide tsunami in history and attributed with over 114,000 deaths is the most devastating tsunami -- a seismically-generated ocean wave -- in history.
4. Cost is estimated on 28 December 2004 for 50,000 dead and 1 million refugees at $250 million the first month and $75 million every month thereafter until full employment has been achieved;
50,000 dead x $1,000 survivor benefits = $50 million
1 million refuges x $100 a month = $100 million
Emergency Health: $100 million
Reconstruction loans up to $1 billion
7. Deadly diseases stalk the survivors of the massive South East Asian tsunami that has claimed nearly 50,000 lives by Tuesday 28, December 2004. "In the coming days, additional threats to human life such as diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections can be expected to arise from contaminated water sources," the World Health Organization (WHO) said of the disaster which struck nine nations around the Indian Ocean on Sunday. Medicine, water, body bags, power and communications still in short supply, the threat of widespread sickness was growing while foreign aid agencies must distribute relief to the areas with the assistance of national governments.
8. Germany is to double its urgent aid to the southern Asian countries hit by Sunday's tsunamis, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said here on Tuesday. The government has decided to increase its medical, humanitarian and financial aid to two million euros, Fischer said at a press conference. Germany has sent a second team of experts from its federal disaster relief organization to Sri Lanka, and the interior ministry said 12 experts had been sent there to help restore water supplies. WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday the United States "will do more" to help the victims of a massive earthquake and tsunamis in Asia " Initially, the U.S. government pledged $15 million and dispatched disaster specialists to help the Asian nations devastated by the catastrophe that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. On Monday, President Bush sent letters of condolence and Powell exclaimed, "This is indeed an international tragedy, and we are going to do everything we can." Appearing Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America, the secretary said that at least 11 Americans have died in the disaster and "hundreds" are unaccounted for. The Network for Good directs donations from the United States.
9. Aceh has been under military lockdown for over a year during a government drive to crush a separatist rebellion. A ban on foreign aid agencies has just been lifted.
10. In the first contact from the town of Meulaboh, which would have been among the first hit by the enormous tidal waves that wreaked devastation across Asia, an e-mail from local police said that only 20 percent of the town still stood.
11. Chief police detective Rilo Pambudi said what remained of the town was completely cut off and still being battered by surging waters. He said food was running out, there was looting and further catastrophe loomed.
"If within three to four days relief does not arrive, there will be a starvation disaster that will cause mass deaths," he said.
12. After returning from a reconnaissance flight over Meulaboh and nearby islands, Vice President Yusuf Kalla told journalists there appeared to be no sign of life in the town, which was home to 40,000 people.
13. Other officials say the death toll could more than double again.
14. Sri Hamdani, district council head for Aceh Jaya district, between Meulaboh and Banda Aceh, said half the 95,000 people living in his region may have perished.
"The prediction is that some 50 percent of the population of Aceh Jaya are gone," Hamdani told local radio.
15. In Banda Aceh, which is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) northwest of Jakarta, 2,000 bodies were unceremoniously buried in mass graves, but without digging gear and manpower many putrefying corpses remained on the streets.
16. Aid agencies said those who survived the quake and tidal waves could still succumb to sickness, as the decomposing bodies and poor sanitation in improvised tent villages were aggravated by a shortage of medical supplies.
"We can assume after a tidal wave of that kind that dengue fever and diarrhoea will spread," said Hadi Kuswoyo of the International Federation of the Red Cross in Jakarta.
17. The chief of Indonesia's military, which lost hundreds of men in the disaster, called for a temporary ceasefire with separatist rebels so both sides could help with the relief effort. Reports said the rebels had reciprocated.
18. The government, backed by international aid groups, was sending plane-loads of emergency supplies into Banda Aceh's reopened airport, while the military said it would set up two mobile hospitals in the province.
19. Michael Enquist, a senior UN official, said that fuel shortages and a lack of vehicles meant that despite huge offers of foreign assistance and cash, there was no way of getting it to the province's 20,000 homeless and others in urgent need.
"We're going to have to build up the whole relief network from scratch," he said.
20. On a brief visit to Banda Aceh to meet victims and inspect the damage, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono described the massive disaster as a "trying moment for my nation".
21. Other survivors in the deeply Islamic province saw the catastrophe as a divine message to end the province's long-running conflict
"I felt that this disaster was God's warning to Acehnese and Indonesians that we should get our acts together and learn the message behind this calamity," said Imran Hamid, 55, searching for his missing sister.
22. Tsunamis are often incorrectly referred to as tidal waves, but a tsunami is actually a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 (and up to 600) miles per hour in the open ocean. In the open ocean, tsunamis would not be felt by ships because the wavelength would be hundreds of miles long, with an amplitude of only a few feet. This would also make them unnoticeable from the air. As the waves approach the coast, their speed decreases and their amplitude increases. Unusual wave heights have been known to be over 100 feet high. However, waves that are 10 to 20 feet high can be very destructive and cause many deaths or injuries. Areas at greatest risk are less than 25 feet above sea level and within one mile of the shoreline. Most deaths caused by a tsunami are because of drowning. Associated risks include flooding, contamination of drinking water, fires from ruptured tanks or gas lines, and the loss of vital community infrastructure (police, fire, and medical facilities).
23. Sharon Begley and Gautam Naik Staff Reporters, The Wall Street Journal
, reported- Before 26 December 2004 there had never been such a devastating tsunami -- a seismically-generated ocean wave -- triggered by an earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean in recent history. Southeast Asia had nothing like the tsunami-warning system that is in place along the Pacific coast. Nor has a quake-generated tsunami started in the Indian Ocean ever crossed the entire Indian Ocean basin, as yesterday's did, reaching from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand all the way to the east coast of Africa.
"In records going back to 1509, There do not seem to be any tsunamis that were Indian Ocean-wide."
24. That largely reflects the fact that 95% of the world's earthquakes occur in the Pacific Ocean, and tsunamis almost always are triggered by earthquakes. The Pacific Rim is ringed with early-warning systems intended to detect an imminent tsunami in time to allow people to flee to higher ground.
25. The International Tsunami Information Center, for instance, established in 1965 by an agency of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to improve tsunami preparedness, focuses on nations that rim the Pacific. In the U.S., tsunami research, modeling and warning programs are limited to the Pacific coast, Hawaii and Alaska. Countries bordering the Indian Ocean have virtually no early-warning system.
"It's a matter of resources," says Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa, Hawaii. "We know that tsunamis can occur in all the world's oceans, but we have the most organized warning system in the Pacific because that's the most seismically-active region. In other places tsunamis are much less frequent, so it's been hard to find resources for them."
26. The earthquakes that cause tsunamis almost all occur where tectonic plates -- shards of the earth's crust -- meet. Magma rising up from deep within the Earth causes the plates to move. Along faults such as California's San Andreas, the plates are slip-sliding past each other, occasionally getting stuck and then suddenly jerking forward again -- producing an earthquake.
27. The wall of water that devastated the coasts of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Thailand on 26 December 2004 was born where two tectonic plates behave differently, in what is called a subduction zone. About 6.2 miles beneath the Indian Ocean, one such plate, called the India plate, is moving slightly more than two inches a year toward the northeast, according to the National Earthquake Information Center, Golden, Colo. Where it meets another plate, called the Burma plate, it dives under, or subducts. Yesterday, a section of the India plate about 620 miles long slipped under the Burma plate, says the National Earthquake Information Center. That caused the sea floor to lift up and then drop down again, with catastrophic results.
"A zone where one plate is slipping under another is the most dangerous kind of plate boundary for generating tsunamis," Dr. McCreery says. The diving plate causes the ocean floor to deform, "pushing it up and then down again," he says, carrying the entire water column with it. That has occurred before in the Indian Ocean, but never with this magnitude.
"From the historical record, it looks like there were two tsunamis originating in subduction zones in the Indian Ocean in the 1800s, and another in the mid-1990s, but these had purely local effect," he says.
28. A quake that measures 9.0 on a scale of earthquake intensity brings devastation that makes everything else in the historical record pale. "The massive vertical rupture in the sea floor acted like a gigantic wave machine, displacing a huge amount of water," says seismologist Brian Baptie of the British Geological Survey.
29. In the deep ocean, such undulations generated by the "wave machine" typically aren't even detectable by ships. The wave crests often measure less than three feet high and are hundreds of miles apart, so sailors sense nothing amiss and typically don't even know that they are riding atop a growing tsunami. Because the crests are so small and infrequent, it isn't even obvious how fast the tsunami is traveling in the deep ocean: at the speed of a jet, about 500 miles an hour.
30. Ships and sturdy boats sailing in deep waters can usually ride out a tsunami, Dr. Baptie says. In shallower waters, though, the tsunami usually wins, he says, adding that in the past, tsunamis have been known to deposit ships located in coastal waters hundreds of meters inland.
31. Once the tsunami reaches a coastline it slows down and begins traveling at about the speed of a regular wind-generated wave, perhaps 20 to 30 miles an hour. But now it is enormously more dangerous than it was in the open ocean. As the waves slow down near land, all the energy of the wave gets compressed into much less depth. That causes the wave height to increase.
"The tsunami looks less like a regular wave than like a flash flood or a fast-rising tide, with the ocean rising," Dr. McCreery says. Tsunamis rarely "break" the way regular ocean waves do; the wall of water just barrels onto land, petering out only as it reaches far inland.
32. Scientists have developed a precise formula to predict how a wave will behave once it reaches the coast. The speed of the tsunami is proportional to the depth of the ocean through which it travels; specifically, it equals the square root of the gravitational constant (9.8 meters a second) times the depth of the ocean in meters. That formula allows scientists to warn coastal residents when a tsunami is to strike.
33. Because the Pacific Ocean is so well instrumented, with seismic detectors scattered throughout the basin, "tsunami warning centers can locate an undersea earthquake within three to 15 minutes after it occurs and assess the tsunami threat within minutes," Dr. McCreery says.
34. A tsunami that has traversed an entire ocean basin, called a deep-water tsunami, also slams into the coast like a very strong, very fast tide, as if the whole ocean is rising. Tsunamis typically hit in a group of three to 10 waves, separated by troughs, Dr. Bernard says.
35. Because the triggering mechanism -- be it an undersea earthquake, volcano or landslide -- moves such an immense volume of water up and down, tsunamis can propagate across entire ocean basins: they have been known to travel across the entire Pacific Ocean in less than 24 hours. Although a single quake produces only one tsunami, aftershocks can cause smaller ones.
36. In the worst tsunamis, a wall of rushing water called a bore forms. It arrives onshore packing huge destructive power. Right behind it is a deep, fast-moving flood that can sweep away almost anything in its path. In 1755, a tsunami originating with an earthquake in the Atlantic Ocean obliterated Lisbon and surrounding areas, killing 60,000 people. The 1883 tsunami triggered by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano on an island off Indonesia killed an estimated 36,000 people. Although tsunamis from Krakatoa reached as far as Australia and Hawaii, the waves were not very tall and therefore did very little damage. Almost all the devastation was confined to Indonesia's Java and Sumatra. The most recent catastrophic tsunami, in 1998 off Papua New Guinea, killed an estimated 2,200 people.
37. Although nothing can be done to damp, let alone stop, a tsunami once it has been triggered deep under the ocean, coastal residents can watch for signs that one is imminent. The earthquake that caused the tsunami also can cause nearby ground to shake, Dr. Bernard notes (although many of the regions struck yesterday were too far from the quake's epicenter to feel that). Also, "an approaching tsunami will drain the coastline as water rushes out," he says.
38. People in its path can hear a tsunami's approach, he says: it sounds as loud as a jet plane or a locomotive. When they see the rushing water or hear the approaching tsunami, he says, they have about five minutes to flee to higher ground.
40. Jeannine Aversa, AP, Washington on December 28, 2004 wrote Economies of Asian Nations Should Survive. The devastating earthquake and tsunamis that hit Asian countries will deal a fresh blow to the tourism industry there but aren't expected to produce crippling economic problems in the region or in the United States, economists say.
41. Private economists were scrambling Monday to assess the economic toll of Sunday's deadly natural disaster. For now, they foresee a limited economic impact - largely affecting tourism - because the disaster hit coastal towns and not big manufacturing centers, analysts said.
"The impact on the United States is expected to be minimal mostly because the areas that have been affected by this are primarily rural areas and nondeveloped areas and not big industrial areas. So we don't expect any major production facilities to be affected," said Rakesh Shankar, an economist who focuses on Asian economic issues at Economy.com.
42. In that regard, this disaster is quite different from the 1995 earthquake that struck the major industrial center of Kobe, Japan, and destroyed much of its port, analysts noted.
"The strongest negative impact will be for countries like Thailand and Sri Lanka. Both of them rely on tourism," Shankar said. "Tourism is really the industry that is going to get hit hardest by this. Even so, we don't expect the impact to last longer than a year at the most." He said millions of dollars in the tourism business probably would be lost.
43. Tourism in the region had been on the rebound after a slump as travelers were shaken by fears about SARS - severe acute respiratory syndrome - and terrorism, analysts said.
44. Shankar and other economists believe the economies of the affected countries will weather the disaster and won't be thrown into a recession or a serious economic downturn. But they may log somewhat slower economic growth, analysts said. The Hurricanes in the US were for instance the largest economic settlement for the US of 2004.
"I think the human toll is severe. At the same time, economically, I don't see it affecting the global economy very much," said Sung Won Sohn, a chief economist at Wells Fargo, who has traveled extensively through the region.
45. Analysts said rebuilding efforts - assisted by international aid - will eventually help economic activity in the countries.
46. So far, experts said they are unaware of any major disruptions in international trade.
"Right now it's business as usual at the ports," said Bill Anthony, a spokesman at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, he said, there may be a temporary slowdown if ships are rerouted.
47. Sri Lanka is a big exporter of textiles and apparel to the United States and other countries. India exports textiles, gems and jewelry, among other goods. Indonesia's exports include oil, gas and electrical appliances. Malaysia's exports include electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas. Thailand's exports include computers, transistors and seafood.
"I don't see any major impact on U.S. manufacturers," said Clifford Waldman, economist at Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, a research group. Waldman said the countries affected aren't huge markets for U.S. manufacturers.
48. Waldman also didn't expect major supply disruptions to U.S. companies. But there's the possibility of "transportation bottlenecks and uncertainties with orders and shipping," he said.
49. The National Association of Manufacturers had no immediate assessment.
50. From January through October of 2004, U.S. exports to the Asian countries were far outweighed by imports from them, Commerce Department figures show:
India: U.S. exports came to nearly $5 billion; imports totaled $13.1 billion.
Indonesia: U.S. exports were nearly $2.2 billion; imports came to $9.2 billion.
Malaysia: U.S. exports totaled $8.9 billion; imports totaled $23.3 billion.
Sri Lanka: U.S. exports came to just $133.5 million; imports totaled $1.6 billion.
Thailand: U.S. were valued at $5.2 billion; imports totaled $14.3 billion.
In comparison, U.S. exports to Canada, a major trading partner, totaled $157.5 billion, while imports from Canada came to $212.4 billion.
51. Treasury Department spokesman Rob Nichols said it was too soon to assess the possible economic impact of the disaster on the region.
52. Twenty-four tsunamis have caused damage in the United States and its territories during the last 204 years. Just since 1946, six tsunamis have killed more than 350 people and caused a half billion dollars of property damage in Hawaii, Alaska, and the West Coast. As a tsunami nears the coastline, it may rise to several feet or, in rare cases, tens of feet, and can cause great loss of life and property damage when it comes ashore. Tsunamis can travel upstream in coastal estuaries and rivers, with damaging waves extending farther inland than the immediate coast. A tsunami can occur during any season of the year and at any time, day or night.
53. Investment is directed to the Sea East Asian insurance industry covering the affected states and the supply of products and donations via the Network for Good are tax deductible.