From Keith Olbermann
, there is new, unimaginable news from the Acheh Province.
Secaucus— It is now impossible to believe this was just three nights ago, the official death toll from the Christmas Tsunami in the Indian Ocean stood at only 24,000.
Now, the latest Reuters count, is 125,282. But according to Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia, three days from now, we may find it equally impossible to believe that this number was so low.
The State News Agency in Malaysia, Bernama, quotes Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia as saying today that three large communities in the Acheh province appear to have been totally destroyed— but are, as yet, inaccessible. "Aerial surveillance found the town of Meulaboh completely destroyed with only one building standing," said Ambassador Drs H. Rusdihardjo.
Until Sunday morning, Meulaboh had 150,000 residents.
The Ambassador also says there were "no signs of life" in Pulau Simeuleu. It had a population of 76,000. Access to these areas— if only to see if anybody is still alive there— has been cut off due to the destruction of roads, and rapidly depleting fuel supplies. Aerial views of the area show not just devastation, but obliteration. Some communities are recognizable only because a few building foundations remain intact, like the chalk lines around a dead body. Others look like images from the 1889 flood in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, or the 1900 hurricane that destroyed much of Galveston, Texas.
Ambassador Rusdihardjo concluding that the death toll in Acheh Province, could exceed 400,000.
I just do not know what to think. There is nothing about this that could be real. How could it? I just wish there was more I could do.
There are now several sites listing organizations taking donations for the tsunami tragedy. The death toll has also skyrocketed. As of 7:15 this morning the toll was up to 115,000 people.
I also wanted to let you know my personal experience with making a donation. I chose Doctors Without Borders
for my donation, and made it on their website with my checkcard. I received a confirmation page at the end of my transaction saying it had gone through. The confirmation page informed me I would receive a confirmation e-mail and then an official letter in the mail for tax deduction purposes. I had assumed I would receive the e-mail almost immediately. It still hasn't shown and there was no debit on my bank statement online. Since I had made the donation when they still had their heavy traffic page up, I thought maybe it hadn't gone through. I decided to call and check.
I called the donation line and had to wait for a minute, due to heavy call volume, and then spoke to a very nice woman. She said they are simply behind processing the transactions, and if I received the confirmation page, there should be no problem.
Apparently, they are getting THOUSANDS of calls a day. I was happy to hear that. Thousands. Let's say "thousands" means 2,000. If everyone donates just $10, that $20,000 a day or $140,000 a week! If everyone donates $50, that's $700,000 a week, and if everyone were to donate $100, that would be $1.4 million a week. Just to that one organization. I am so happy people are responding. People are taking this tragedy into their own hands and helping. Every little bit is making a difference, just like they say.
Here is a link to a list of organizations accepting donations
that was put together by Yahoo.