You have to try to do your bit.
from countries far away, such as the UK, has been heart warming; from individuals, such as children selling their Xmas presents, to each English Premier League side donating 50,000 pounds and my home club, Charlton Athletic
, doubling their donation.
Charlton captain Matt Holland said: "Just watching the pictures of the disaster on television has been horrifying, so I can barely imagine what it must be like to be involved in such a catastrophe.
"I think a lot of people feel helpless, but by contributing to the disaster relief fund everyone can play their part in saving further lives and helping the region to recover. That's certainly what we feel at Charlton, and that is what has prompted the further donation by the directors, players and staff."
The online community has generally responded well
too. We bloggers
have shared personal accounts
- "Everyone seemed to have a role. Mine was that of news reporter. Telephone company. And someone who was trying to bring some facts in to the situation. And I also served as a listener.
" - pointed to resources and appealed for aid
whilst a vast range of information has been contributed to the Wiki Encyclopaedia
This is the power of the individual; the sum of the parts making a collective difference.
Whilst news gathering from Aceh remains the province of news correspondents such as the Guardian's John Aglionby
, questions are now being raised about the effectiveness of the aid efforts.
The problem is twofold: the need for co-ordination and the lack of transport
and communications infrastructures
Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said today
that heads of state or their special representatives from the tsunami-affected countries, as well as major aid donors and international organisations, would be invited to an international tsunami summit on Jan. 6th. "The meeting is aimed at consolidating joint commitment for emergency assistance and also for future rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected countries
," he said.
But there is an urgency to get much needed food and medicines to the survivors now
, not next week.
"The indications are the disaster is going to be a lot worse than we have anticipated already," United Nations Children's Fund communications director John Budd said in Jakarta. "Aceh really is ground zero ... there are miles and miles and miles of nothing."
Budd said there was a desperate shortage of food and fuel across the remote province, which had already suffered from a lack of infrastructure due to a decades-long violent battle between separatist rebels and the government.
So it doesn't help that Indonesian troops are still conducting their war against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
While volunteers, security officers and families are busy collecting and searching for the bodies of victims killed in Sunday's catastrophic tsunami in Aceh, soldiers are continuing their offensive against separatist rebels. A recent cease-fire offered by the military for Free Aceh Movement (GAM) members, whose hideouts were not affected by the tsunami, appear to be mere rhetoric.
Other countries seem to have their priorities better organised.
A U.S. carrier battle group is due to anchor off Sumatra island today to spearhead an unprecedented multinational military effort to assist the survivors of last weekend's quake and tsunamis.
"The United States is not there to take over the rescue or relief effort," an unnamed official said. "We are there to provide whatever help they decide they need."
Presumably as part of the "multinational military effort", Singapore is opening up its air and naval bases to countries seeking to send relief supplies into tsunami-wracked Indonesia, Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Friday. Airport facilities at Banda Aceh and Medan, nearest the devastated areas, are "currently overstretched," he told a news briefing.
Things are going to get worse, much worse in Aceh and North Sumatra.
"There's no food, there's no fuel, it's a cruel situation. If we get food in, say, rice, there is no pure water or fuel to cook it. We are desperately trying to break this cycle," John Budd said.
We must continue to do our bit, not only in 2005 but in the years ahead.
Think positive. It's time we changed the world