Internet Serves as Vital Communication Link in Wake of Asia Disaster
Distraught relatives and friends of victims of the devastating Indian Ocean earthquake are increasingly turning to the internet in a desperate attempt to find missing relatives and to keep track of the events as they unfold.As the world’s largest ever relief effort is gathering pace to help the victims of the catastrophic Tsunamis, aid agencies have warned that they are dangerously short of funds.
With 100,000 now feared dead, 500,000 injured and five million homeless and at risk from starvation and disease, aid agencies are begging for more donations, as the £184 million that has been offered so far, will not suffice.
Death rates according to the Evening Standard:
India - estimated 14, 000 dead
Thailand - estimated 8, 000 dead
Sri Lanka - estimated 43, 000 dead
Indonesia - estimated 100, 000 dead
Mass tourism means that the aftershock of the tsunamis are being felt all over the world. Some 1,500 Swedes, 1,000 Germans, 600 Italians, 464 Norwegians, 294 Singaporeans, 277 Hong Kong residents, 219 Danes, 200 Finns and 200 Czechs have been reported as missing. These numbers are steadily rising and the impact on a global scale is only now beginning to emerge.
Many websites have been set up to help people find one another and to offer an overall picture on the disaster. People are scanning through lists of names of victims and posting messages on bulletin boards. These include www.reliefweb.in and www.alertnet.org.
Websites have also been set up to help people find one another. The Red Cross is receiving immense levels of traffic at www.familylinks.icrc.org
. The Thai Government has also set up web sites listing names of victims
www.narenthorn.or.th. The Sri Lankan tourist board has set up a website at www.contactsrilanka.org in order to help people track down missing relatives.
The main British fundraising effort is being led by The Disasters Emergency, an umbrella group for charities, which can be found at: www.dec.org.uk
.Inclusive charities: Red Cross, Unicef, Oxfam, Care and World Vision have appealed for donations on their website.