U.S. Water News Online
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia -- The German foreign minister
recently took a tour of Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh province, where
aid workers warned that the grisly task of retrieving bodies could
continue for many more months.
The European Union, meanwhile, mulled helping fishermen in the
ravaged region by sending old boats and granting trade concessions.
Workers trudging through debris in Aceh are still pulling hundreds
of corpses from the rubble every day, and the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that was not
expected to change soon.
Indonesia added 1,414 bodies to its death toll.
After initially saying the retrieval of bodies would likely be
complete by June, the Red Cross now says several more months might be
needed, agency spokeswoman Yrsa Grune said.
"It might be that plan will have to be revised," she said. "It's
inevitable. Every time you lift a stone you might find something
under it because there's still lots of rubble."
The magnitude-9.0 quake under the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26 and the
tsunami it spawned killed more than 164,000 people in 11 nations --
with most of the victims in Aceh. Tens of thousands of people are
still missing, though officials say it's too early to add them to the
Indonesia has revised its number of missing for the first time in
two weeks, saying nearly 13,000 of the previously unaccounted for
have now been confirmed dead, found to be living in refugee camps or
left Aceh. The missing tally stood at 114,922 -- down from 127,774.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the latest foreign
dignitary to visit Aceh, was touring the worst-hit areas of the
He was scheduled to meet with German troops who have set up a
field hospital to care for the wounded and to hold talks with
Indonesian officials before flying out later.
Germany has pledged US$660 million to the tsunami relief effort,
making it one of the largest donors. Of the non-Asian nations
affected by the disaster, it was also one of the hardest hit trailing
only France in the number of citizens killed.
Sixty Germans are confirmed dead -- most of them vacationers in
southern Thailand. France's toll stands at 67.
The killer waves also wiped away coastal villages, resorts and the
fishing boats that served as the livelihoods of many the region's
The European Commission has proposed an earlier start to new trade
rules that allow developing countries to export their textiles and
fisheries products to Europe with lower tariffs. The plan would bring
the rules forward by three months so that tsunami-hit countries can
reap the benefits sooner.
The new rules, which are expected to net developing nations an
annual windfall of US$3.9 billion, would start April 1 instead of
The EU's executive body also proposed that small fishing boats
taken out of commission in the 25 member countries be sent to
tsunami-hit areas to help relaunch a fishing industry devastated by
the Dec. 26 disaster.
"We must ensure that our measures respond to the needs of the
local sector," EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said.
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