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Tsunami Relief Efforts

December 2004

More than 100,000 people have now been reported dead in the aftermath of the earthquake and floods that have devastated the coasts nations around the Indian Ocean.

Grassroots International sends its condolences to the thousands of people who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in the catastrophe.

We are monitoring the situation, looking for local groups that are doing vital relief and redevelopment work and advocating for a swift and effective response from the U.S. government. During the present emergency situation, we are directing our supporters to send their contributions to groups that we believe are doing their best to work directly with local organizations, and who are doing so wherever possible without becoming beholden to the U.S. government by dependence on government funding.

For starters, we would recommend Doctors Without Borders, who are opening emergency clinics to treat displaced people and working to improve sanitation and water supplies. They were the first international relief organizations to set up a clinic in Aceh, Indonesia, one of the sites most devastated by the earthquake.

Oxfam America is also doing critical emergency relief work, providing clean drinking water in places like Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, where, ironically, flood waters have contaminated drinking water wells, leaving the people thirsty in the wake of the catastrophic flood.

We will also provide insight on the situation from the perspective of local organizations who are struggling with the crisis in their own homelands. Here’s an appeal from the Asian Human Rights Commission. They’re calling for an urgent response to the crisis, but they’re also reminding us that the root cause of much of the devastation is the crushing poverty that forces so many people in the affected region to live in substandard housing in the littoral region.

We must do all we can to help the survivors of the earthquake, but we must also do all we can to guarantee that people everywhere have the rights to safe land to call home, food to feed their families, and safe water to drink.

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