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Senate Passes Resolution Expressing Support for Natural Disaster Victims Across Southeast Asia

Senate lends full support to relief efforts, urges U.S. Government to provide aid

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate has approved a resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in response to a series of tragic natural disasters in Southeast Asia. The resolution calls on the United States and the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to aid the survivors and support reconstruction efforts. The resolution, cosponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), was passed by unanimous consent Tuesday night.

“These recent natural disasters have caused a tremendous amount of damage and catastrophic loss of life throughout Southeast Asia.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and the survivors who are still struggling in the aftermath,” Senator Feinstein said. “I am pleased to see the outpouring of support from our government, relief agencies, and private citizens. I call on the United States to work with the international community to provide additional assistance to aid the survivors and support reconstruction efforts.”

Southeast Asia has been plagued by a series of terrible natural disasters in recent weeks:

  • On September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ketsana ravaged Manila, Philippines, causing the worst flooding in four decades. It submerged the homes of 2 million people, forced 700,000 people into relief centers and killed 246. Three days later, the typhoon hit Vietnam, killed over 100 people, and forced 350,000 people to evacuate.
  • On September 29th, a tsunami hit Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga, killing 177 people and displaced another 30,000.
  • On September 30 and October 1, two consecutive earthquakes struck Padang, Sumatra, one magnitude 7.6 and one 6.6. The earthquakes killed over 1,100 and destroyed hundreds of buildings, including hospitals and schools.  

The United States immediately responded to the disasters in Indonesia by providing $300,000 in aid and has set aside $3 million for additional assistance. A 245 member disaster response team has been dispatched to American Samoa and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent 20,000 meals, 13,000 liters of water, and 800 tents. Further relief measures are planned for all of the impacted nations.