George Bush: America's role in helping the tsunami victims

From remarks by the US President at his ranch at Crawford, Texas, responding to the tragedy in the Indian Ocean
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The Independent Online

Laura and I and the American people are shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life from the earthquake and the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean.

We are committed to helping the affected countries in the difficult weeks and months that lie ahead. We pledged an initial $35m (£18m) in relief assistance. We have deployed disaster experts to the region. All leaders expressed their appreciation for the hard work of our ambassadors and their embassy staffs to help the countries in need. As well, we're dispatching a Marine expeditionary unit, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and the Maritime pre-position squadron from Guam to the area to help with relief efforts.

Secretary Powell is working hard. He has spoken with his counterparts in Japan, India, Australia, as well as other nations who are helping with the response, in order to begin building an international coalition for immediate humanitarian relief and long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Based on these discussions, we've established a regional core group with India, Japan and Australia to help co-ordinate relief efforts. I'm confident more nations will join this core group in short order.

The Under Secretary of State, Mark Grossman, will lead a US task force to work with these partners to help co-ordinate inter-agency response in our own government and to encourage other nations to participate in the relief efforts.

These past few days have brought loss and grief to the world that is beyond our comprehension. The United States will continue to stand with the affected governments as they care for the victims. We will stand with them as they start to rebuild their communities. And together the world will cope with their loss; we will prevail over this destruction.

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