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I have been horrified by the steadily increasing casualty tolls from the tsunami that hit a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean on 26 December. Initial reports mentioned 7,000 dead. The current estimate exceeds 125,000, and it can be expected to climb further.
The dead are gone. There is nothing to be done for them except to bury the bodies that can be found.
The survivors are another matter. Homes are gone. Businesses and livelihoods have disappeared. Infrastructure has been destroyed. And those affected number in the millions. Medical care, food and water are immediate needs. Assistance in rebuilding lives is a longer term requirement.
This is not a time to criticize the comments of a few religious leaders who talk of god's wrath, god's plan, or portents of end times. The response of most of the religious community has been to seek ways to get aid to the afflicted. As Rabbi Daniel Isaak of Portland Oregon has said:
The issue isn't 'Why did God do this to us?' but 'How do we human beings care for one another?'
We should do no less. We too should care for our fellow human beings and assist those in great need.
This is a time to get out your checkbooks and contribute. Recognize and assist those who share this planet with us. There are any number of reasonably secular agencies to contribute to, and know the donation is going to be used for aid, and not proselytizing. If you need a suggestion, consider The International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or UNICEF. Most of the national branches of these organizations can accept online donations.
Please contribute today.
Note 1: In time the specifics of this particular article will become dated, but we can expect future natural disasters, of similar or even greater magnitude. Only a year ago, the earthquake in Bam, Iran took 41,000 lives and the recovery process is still underway. We who are lucky enough not to be directly affected should be ready to respond generously.
Note 2: If you ever thought to contribute financially to the operation of this web site and found donations are not accepted, disaster relief is a worthy alternate use for your money.