85,000 national service trainees should be offered the option, in lieu of national service training, of going to Aceh to do humanitarian work in the earthquake-tsunami catastrophe – the best training to be a good citizen and exemplary human being
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): In the second week of the Asian tsunamis, the international community is confronted with the grim prospect of a “second wave of death” from widespread epidemics of diseases such as cholera, pneumonia and malaria from lack of drinking water and good sanitation which could kill as many people as by Sunday’s magnitude-9 mega-earthquake and the worst tsunamis in recorded history in its arc of destruction and death across nearly 4,000 miles in 12 countries and six time zones.
The last count of the global death toll from the killer Asian tsunamis is more than 124,000 people, although the United Nations emergency relief operations coordinator said the death toll was approaching 150,000 and Sweden's foreign minister said it could go as high as 200,000.
The biggest immediate problem is not funds or emergency supplies but the race against time and the logistical nightmare of getting the basic foodstuffs, drinking water, clothings and medical supplies to the millions of homeless and destitute tsunami victims in the disaster zones before they succumb and die.
In Aceh, for instance, which is the ground zero of the Asian tsunamis, with several villages completely destroyed as if by a nuclear holocaust, the United Nations has warned that it would take weeks to reach many survivors in the isolated areas – by which time they would all be dead.
What are urgently and immediately needed in the humanitarian catastrophe in Aceh are not just basic necessities of foodstuff, drinking water, clothings, blankets and medicines, but armies of relief workers and means of transportation, whether trucks, helicopters, aircrafts and ships to break the logistics constraints in Sumatra to get out the relief supplies to the starving and dying tsunami victims.
There are two things which Malaysia can do to provide immediate help to the tsunami victims in Aceh:
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman