What is expected to be the world’s largest ever relief effort is finally gaining momentum. Box by box, supplies are arriving in some of the hardest hit areas of Asia after the deadly tsunamis claimed over 125,000 lives.
An estimated 370 million euros has been pledged worldwide. The largest single donation is Britain’s 70 million euros. But aid agencies warn the sheer scale of the disaster is yet to be fully understood. That is a sentiment shared by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. “This is an unprecedented global catastrophe and it requires an unprecedented global response,” he said. “Over the past few days it has registered deeply in the conscience and consciousness of the world as we seek to grasp the speed, the force and magnitude with which it happened.” Planning for future aid and reconstruction is also getting underway. Indonesia says it is organising a tsunami summit for January 6, bringing together representatives from Asia, the US and Australasia. A UN donors’ conference has been scheduled for January 11.