December 28, 2004


UPDATE -- January 5: The cartoon below is being auctioned to benefit tsunami victims: click here.


From an AP report: One third of those killed in disaster may be children.

The U.N. organization estimates at least one-third of the tens of thousands who died were children, and the proportion could be up to half, said UNICEF spokesman Alfred Ironside in New York. He said communities are suffering a double loss: dead children and orphaned boys and girls.

"Our major concern is that the kids who survived the tsunami now survive the aftermath. Because children are the most vulnerable to disease and lack of proper nutrition and water."

Children make up at least half of the population in Asia. Many of them work alongside poverty-stricken parents in the fishing or related industries in coastal areas, so they were in harm's way when the tidal waves came. Many children from the more affluent families would also have been on the beaches for a stroll or for Sunday picnics.

In Sri Lanka, which suffered the biggest loss of life in the tsunami, crowds had come to the beaches to watch the sea after word spread that it was producing larger-than-normal waves.
Thousands of children joined their elders to see the spectacle. The waves brought in fish. The old and the young collected them. Many waited for more fun.

Then the 15 feet-to-20 feet tidal waves hit the tropical island of 19 million people.

"They got caught and could not run to safety. This is the reason why we have so many child victims," said Rienzie Perera, a police spokesman who said reports from affected police stations indicated children made up about half the victims in Sri Lanka.

FoxNews reports: Tsunami Death Toll Tops 52,000.

And from The Wall Street Journal editorials: A Great Natural Disaster: Prosperity is the best defense against tsunami.

Rich countries suffer fewer fatalities from natural disasters because their prosperity has allowed them to create better protective measures. Consider the 41,000 death toll in last December's earthquake in Iran compared with the 63 who died when a slightly stronger earthquake hit San Francisco in 1989.

The principal victims of the tidal waves in Sri Lanka and elsewhere Sunday were the poor people living in coastal shanty towns. The wealthier countries around the Pacific Rim have an established early-warning system against tsunamis, while none currently exists in South Asia. Developing countries that have resisted the Kyoto climate-change protocols have done so from fear that it will suppress their economic growth. These countries deserve an answer from the proponents of those standards. How are they supposed to pay for such protection amid measures that are suppressing global economic growth?

UPDATE I: Cheese and Crackers has a post with video, articles and donation links regarding the tsunami disaster.

UPDATE II -- December 29: From CNN: Tsunami death toll tops 80,000.

UPDATE III -- December 30: This cartoon appears in today's (Thursday's) Investor's Business Daily.

UPDATE IV: From CNN: Tsunami death toll tops 116,000.

UPDATE V: Digital Globe has high-resolution before and after pictures of the devastation caused by the tsunami (via LGF).

And from our post earlier today, here's a U.S. government list of South Asia tsunami/earthquake relief agencies.

UPDATE VI -- January 4: From CNN: U.S. tracks 4,000 reports of missing Americans.

Posted by Forkum at December 28, 2004 05:48 PM