How you can help victims of tsunami

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The Independent Online

The suffering grows. The men, women and children who lost their families, their clothes and possessions, their homes and their livelihoods when the tsunami struck South-east Asia a week ago now face starvation, disease and death. Where aid has already arrived, devastated communities must rebuild in order to survive.

The suffering grows. The men, women and children who lost their families, their clothes and possessions, their homes and their livelihoods when the tsunami struck South-east Asia a week ago now face starvation, disease and death. Where aid has already arrived, devastated communities must rebuild in order to survive.

They have nothing. They are desperately dependent on your help.

That is why we are asking you, our readers, to give generously today. The response from the British public to the disaster has been astonishing so far, but even that may not be enough. If you have already given, can you give again?

Last week The Independent, our sister paper, launched its own appeal with a donation of £10,000. Now the IoS is joining the effort to raise money for aid to the devastated areas. As a further boost, Independent News & Media, owner of The Independent on Sunday, today announces contributions of more than £110,000 to emergency relief for the victims of the tsunami.

Sir Anthony O'Reilly, the group chief executive, said: "A disaster of this magnitude leaves us all feeling somewhat helpless. The enormity of it is almost incomprehensible. The agony of it is evident from our screens and our newspapers, and in many cases is becoming increasingly personal to our readers around the world.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with the victims and those who have been left destitute by its impact. However, we also need to offer practical and immediate aid."

The money you give through The Independent on Sunday appeal will go directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee, (DEC), a coalition of 12 leading charities, which is co-ordinating most of the aid sent from Britain. Its members, including the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children, were among the first to take food and clean water, clothes and shelter to the devastated areas, thanks to the £60m given privately by people in this country in the past week.

The British Government, which has pledged £50m, has agreed to pay for the boats and planes needed to get DEC supplies to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the most remote islands.

Your £15 will buy a water container, purification tablets and plastic sheeting for a family. A donation of £35 will buy enough food for a family for a week; and £100 can provide zinc sheeting and timber to help rebuild two homes.

"This crisis is not only a short-term horror of monumental proportions but it has also destroyed whole families, villages and infrastructures," says Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the DEC. Fishermen have lost boats and farmland has been ruined by sea water. Sanitation systems have been swept away.

Some of the worst affected communities were already among the world's poorest. When the debris and rotting bodies have been cleared, they must start again. They have nothing with which to do this, unless we help.

"We are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint," said Mr Gormley.

Independent News & Media is contributing €100,000 to tsunami aid. Its sister company APN in Australia and New Zealand is giving A$100,000. These two sums form the equivalent of just over £110,000.

Sir Anthony said: "We are confident that the generosity of our readers will allow us, through selected charities and aid agencies, to bring urgent and much needed relief to the survivors of this terrible natural catastrophe."

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