Donations by the Swiss public to countries hit by the deadly Indian Ocean tidal waves have topped SFr20 million ($18 million) – a new record.This content was published on December 31, 2004 - 15:41
The money will go to Swiss charities that are already active in the area, distributing foodstuffs and essentials to survivors.
Swiss Solidarity, the fundraising arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, said SFr9 million had been raised since Thursday morning, bringing the total to more than SFr20 million.
Swiss Solidarity’s head of communications, Roland Jeanneret, described the level of giving as “sensational” and unprecedented.
The charity is supporting eight Swiss aid organisations, among them Caritas, the Swiss Red Cross, and Médecins sans frontiers, to bring relief to survivors.
Working alongside local partner organisations, the aid agencies are distributing foodstuffs, blankets, clothing and toiletries to those affected by the tsunamis.
The agencies are also involved in setting up shelters for the homeless, ensuring supplies of clean drinking water, running mobile clinics and supporting the work of local hospitals.
On Friday the Swiss Red Cross was due to dispatch 26 tons of supplies to Sri Lanka - one of the countries worst affected by the disaster. The organisation said it would be increasing its emergency aid to the region to SFr1 million.
Another organisation supported by Swiss Solidarity – Medair – is also at work in Sri Lanka, assessing the needs of 180,000 homeless people.
For its part, the international charity Terre des hommes is working specifically to help children, many of whom have lost, or become separated from their parents.
swissinfo with agencies
An earthquake on Sunday measuring nine on the Richter scale caused a series of tidal waves in the Indian Ocean.
Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Maldives suffered large-scale destruction.
According to official statistics, more than 130,000 people were killed.
Thirteen Swiss are confirmed dead.
Swiss Solidarity is the fundraising arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, parent company of swissinfo.
It raises funds following natural disasters or wars and distributes these to Swiss aid agencies.
Swiss Solidarity was founded in 1946.
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