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Millions of dollars in aid needed to help inj -

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Millions of dollars in aid needed to help injured and homeless

Reporter: Emma Alberici

EMMA ALBERICI: Governments and humanitarian organisations around the world have been mobilising
staff and launching fundraising efforts to provide much-needed aid. The International Red Cross is
calling for more than $6 million to help the injured and homeless. The European Union has allocated
$5 million. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has committed double that, with an initial
contribution of $10 million. Disaster teams have been rushed to the seven Asian countries
devastated by the tsunamis, particularly Sri Lanka, where more than 4,500 people have been killed.
Officials say more than 1 million people or around 5 per cent of the Indian Ocean island's
population has been affected by the giant waves, which came just a fortnight after severe monsoon
flooding damaged crops and homes. Scott Faiia is Sri Lanka's Director for CARE Australia. I spoke
to him earlier from the capital, Colombo. Scott Faiia, I believe this has touched your office quite

SCOTT FAIIA (CARE AUSTRALIA SRI LANKA DIRECTOR): Yes, Emma. In fact, we still have two staff
members unaccounted for in the southern town of Hambantota, and I have sent a team earlier this
morning to go down there and investigate that, but we haven't gotten word. Most unfortunately, we
do have word that several of our staff members have lost family members in this. One staff member
has lost four family members, and another one has lost one family member.

EMMA ALBERICI: Reports say the death toll is now 4,500 in Sri Lanka. Could it be more than that?

SCOTT FAIIA: It is definitely already more than that officially, and this will continue to rise.

EMMA ALBERICI: What's your best estimate of the numbers?

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, it's very difficult to say, Emma, but I'm sure that it will rise by at least
several thousand more, and I don't even want to think about going beyond that and what the
possibilities are.

EMMA ALBERICI: How does this compare to other crises you've been involved with?

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, I think the biggest single difference is that up to one minute before this
happened, nobody had a clue. It was totally and completely unexpected. I've seen many food crises
and a few volcanic eruptions and other things, and other conflict that has created crises, but this
one here is - all of those, you have some kind of indication, "Well, something's gonna happen. It
has been raining for a week so we might have a flood", but this here was just completely out of the

EMMA ALBERICI: Tell us: reports say as many as 1 million people have been displaced. What are the
immediate needs of those people?

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, I think their immediate needs are they need to be fed and they need water, they
need shelter, and they need some kind of comforting, because they're in a state of shock from
what's happened to them.

EMMA ALBERICI: How big a concern is the contamination of the water supply there? The United Nations
has warned of the potential of epidemics within days.

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, I think that warning should be taken very seriously. There's water spread
everywhere that is highly contaminated, and most of these areas, people rely on open-dug wells, and
I'm sure that they're all highly contaminated at this point.

EMMA ALBERICI: With communications cut to those remoter areas, how difficult has it been to
actually assess the full scale of the disaster?

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, it's been quite difficult, and I think it's only sinking in slowly. I think you
have to realise that it's just 24 hours ago that this happened, essentially, and it's gonna take a
little bit of time to get the correct information and assessments so that we can move forward in
meeting the needs.

EMMA ALBERICI: So for CARE, what's the priority?

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, just yesterday, we were involved in assisting people move to higher ground.
Today, CARE is initiating some cooked food distribution in the east.

EMMA ALBERICI: Tell us a bit about the morale in the country today.

SCOTT FAIIA: Well, as I said, it's so unexpected. I think people are generally really in a state of
shock. I think that the government has kept itself on a very even keel and responded very quickly
in terms of trying to assess the situation and provide information, in terms of trying to provide
some initial response with food to people and organising the people who have been displaced from
their homes and trying to get them settled a little bit. So that's been a good thing, and the
President has made some very positive remarks about how all the various groups should work together
and how the needs should be addressed in all areas of the country, not just the
government-controlled areas.

EMMA ALBERICI: Scott Faiia, thank you very much for your time today.

SCOTT FAIIA: You're more than welcome, Emma.