Sunday, January 02, 2005

Thank You Saint Louis.

The last several days have been sad days for me and millions other people from the 12 countries in Asia that were affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster. This killer tsunami killed our people, destroyed our houses, our schools, our hospitals, our churches, our mosques, and a lot more. So far, according to the 'Jakarta Post', the earthquake and tsunami killed up 100,000 people on Sumatra island alone.

In the CNN Special News Report last Saturday night, I watched thousands and thousands of my people's dead bodies being burned and bulldozed into mass graveyards. In the meantime, thousands of others are suffering. They are at risk of disease from contaminated water. Heavy rains in Indonesia's Aceh province have increased the risk of an outbreak of diseases like cholera and dysentery. More help is needed. Through this TV special news report I heard one of my people screamed for help in my language. He said, as translated by the CNN reporter: " We need help! Where is America?"

The Americans heard these screams for help. And together with several other nations in the globe, America responded in a great way. The US Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell said the following during a remark in the United Nations Headquarters in New York:

"On the part of the United States, we indicated in the first day of the crisis an initial infusion of $4 million, which became $15 million on the second day, and then $35 million on the third day as we made our assessment of what the needs were going to be over time. And as we indicated throughout the week, the United States was prepared to do more once we had a better understanding of what the requirements would be. And as a result of assessments that have been made over the last couple of days by representatives of the United States Agency for International Development and recommendations that were given to me early this morning by Administrator Natsios of USAID and then a phone conversation I subsequently had with President Bush this morning, President Bush has decided and we announced from the Crawford White House a little while ago that the United States contribution would now go up to $350 million. That includes the $35 million earlier allocated. So this tenfold increase is indicative of American generosity, but it also is indicative of the need. The need is great, and not just for immediate relief but for long-term reconstruction, rehabilitation, family support, and economic support that's going to be needed for these countries to get back up on their feet. "

In the meantime, in Saint Louis, thousands of people have been showing their supports in the form of prayers and donations. From the eight-year old child, who donated his entire week's allowance to aid the cause, to companies and organizations, who pledge their resources to help. As the principal of St. Louis-Bogor Sister Cities Organization, through my telephone and e-mail, I have received an unbelievable outpouring of loves, sympathies and prayers from friends in Saint Louis and other cities in the US. For all of those, Thank you Saint Louis. And also, Thank you America.

Saint Louis has a sister city relationship with a city in Indonesia, namely Bogor City. As the only organization in Saint Louis that is recognized by the government of Indonesia and the US (locally), which connect the people of Indonesia and the people of this great region, "St. Louis-Bogor Sister Cities Organization" desires to continue working hard connecting the people from the two communities. As of today, the works to assist the victims and survivors of the tsunami tragedy are still in progress. The St. Louis-Bogor Sister Cities Organization in coordination with Indonesian Consulate General and Indonesian Embassy in the US will continue these works in progress. The prayers and the contibutions are still needed. To help with your contributions, please send them to:

St. Louis-Bogor Sister Cities / Indonesian Tsunami Relief Fund
Southwest Bank
700 Corporate Park Drive
Clayton, MO 63105

Thank you again Saint Louis.

Alex Soetjipto
" St. Louis-Bogor Sister Cities Organization "

(Please also read the following press release)