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Powerful earthquake, tsunamis strike South Asia, leaving thousands dead, injured and missing

Sunday, December 26, 2004 — The largest earthquake to strike the globe since 1964 has caused devastating tsunami waves that have killed thousands in south Asia. The 8.9-magnitude quake hit December 26 off the coast of Indonesia, triggering these extremely large waves that have brought massive flooding, damage and loss of life in the region.

Waves as high as 20 feet have crashed into the coastal areas near the Bay of Bengal. Among the worst affected countries are Sri Lanka and India, as well as Indonesia, Maldives and Thailand. Reports are that thousands of people are missing, and it is possible that the number of dead may tragically rise in the coming days.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in south Asia have begun to mobilize staff and volunteers to affected areas to assist with the immediate needs. Emergency assessment and first-aid teams have already reached some of the affected areas.

“The situation is fluid, with so many people affected in so many areas of southeast Asia, and it is likely that relief teams there may need many different types of assistance in the coming days,” said Matthew Parry of the International Disaster Response Unit at the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross continues to maintain contact with its partners on the ground and is prepared to support operations with relief supplies, financial assistance or personnel as requested by our sister International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies there.

The American Red Cross is not able to accept small, individual donations or collections of items for this crisis. Financial support is the best form of assistance those wishing to help can provide.

You can help those affected by this crisis and countless others around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance, and other support to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.



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