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Local Red Cross Sends Relief

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

The death toll rises to over 52,000 people killed in the devastating tsunami that hit South East Asia on Sunday.

The state department reports that 12 Americans are confirmed dead, but hundreds are still missing.

And some of them could be from the Brazos Valley.

The destruction from Sunday's tsunami was so great, emergency workers don't even have a place to store relief supplies.

That's why the local Red Cross says it's counting on monetary donations to help the victims.

Finding survivors and burying the dead has become the first priority of relief workers in Asia.

"The extent of this catastrophe is really not fully known," says Sec. Of State Colin Powell, Tuesday.

The U.S. has already promised $35 million in relief funds and the International Red Cross is working diligently to assess the damage.

But because buildings, homes and storage areas have been wiped out, there is no place to keep supplies.

"When it comes to hard donations such as food, clothing, items such as that, it's important to assess the damage because in the case of the Southeast Asia tsunamis, even storage is a challenge. They're not really sure what it is they actually need so this assessment will provide that," says Mary Jo Prince of the local American Red Cross chapter.

That could take weeks even months to finish.

In the meantime, the local Red Cross is asking for money, earmarked for the Southeast Asia Disaster Relief Fund.

"So often when things happen in our country, the international community provides an outpouring of assistance as we are getting ready to provide them," says Prince.

For some, the tragedy may go beyond borders. The dozen Americans killed in the catastrophe still haven't been identified. Many more are missing.

Floods of calls have come into the state department from people looking for family members, and the number of dead Americans will most certainly rise.

"The extent of the damage is quite significant and the loss of life is still not fully tallied up so I think more aid will be required from the international community but we've got to get started and that's what where doing now," says Powell.

The Bryan branch of the American Red cross is accepting donations to send to the hardest hit areas.

For more information call them at 979-776-8279 or 1-800-HELP-NOW.

And if you are looking for a family member, you are asked to contact the state department at 888-407-4747.

kbtx.com Extended Web Coverage

  • View Quick Time Animation of Indonesia Tsunami – Click Here
  • Images of Past Tsunamis – Click Here

    Read below for Tsunami FAQ's, Safety Tips, and Did You Know Facts

    Tsunamis: Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What Is a Tsunami?
    A: A tsunami (pronounced “soo-nah-mee”) is a series of waves of extremely long wave length and long period generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that vertically displaces the water. The term tsunami was adopted for general use in 1963 by an international scientific conference. Tsunami is a Japanese word represented by two characters: "tsu" and "nami." The character "tsu" means harbor, and the character "nami" means wave. In the past, tsunamis were often referred to as "tidal waves." The term "tidal wave" is a misnomer. Tides are the result of gravitational influences of the moon, sun, and planets. Tsunamis are not caused by the tides and are unrelated to the tides; although a tsunami striking a coastal area is influenced by the tide level at the time of impact.

    Q: What Causes a Tsunami?
    A: There are many causes of tsunamis but the most prevalent is earthquakes. In addition, landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions, and even the impact of cosmic bodies, such as meteorites, can generate tsunamis.

    Q: How Do Earthquakes Generate Tsunamis?
    A: Tsunamis can be generated when the sea floor abruptly shifts and vertically displaces the overlying water from its equilibrium position. Waves are formed as the displaced water mass attempts to regain its equilibrium. The main factor which determines the initial size of a tsunami is the amount of vertical sea floor deformation. Not all earthquakes generate tsunamis. To generate tsunamis, earthquakes must occur underneath or near the ocean, be large and create movements in the sea floor. All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Pacific Ocean there is a much more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along the margins of the Pacific Ocean.

    Q: How Do Landslides, Volcanic Eruptions, and Cosmic Collisions Generate Tsunamis?
    A: Any disturbance that displaces a large water mass from its equilibrium position can generate a tsunami. Generally tsunamis caused by landslides or volcanic eruptions dissipate more quickly than Pacific-wide tsunamis caused by some earthquakes and rarely affect coastlines distant from the source.

    Q: How Do Tsunamis Differ From Other Water Waves?
    A: Tsunami waves are shallow-water waves with long periods and wave lengths. (A wave is classified a shallow-water wave when the ratio between the water depth and its wavelength gets very small. The speed of a shallow-water wave is equal to the square root of the product of the acceleration of gravity (32ft/sec/sec or 980cm/sec/sec) and the depth of the water.) Shallow water waves are different from wind-generated waves (the waves many of us have observed on the beach). Wind-generated waves usually have period (time between two succesional waves) of five to twenty seconds and a wavelength (distance between two successional waves) of about 50 to 600 feet (15 to 200 meters) A tsunami can have a period in the range of 10 minutes to 1 hour and a wavelength in excess of 700 km (430 miles).

    Q: What Happens to a Tsunami as it Approaches the Shore?
    A: "As the tsunami wave reaches the shallower water above a continental shelf, friction with the shelf slows the front of the wave. As the tsunami approaches shore, the trailing waves pile onto the waves in front of them, like a rug crumpled against a wall creating a wave that may rise up to 30 feet before hitting the shore. Although greatly slowed, a tsunami still bursts onto land at freeway speeds, with enough momentum to flatten buildings and trees and to carry ships miles inland." (From: Waves of Destruction by Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, May 1994, pp. 69-70)

    Q: What Are the Impacts of a Tsunami?
    A: Tsunamis can savagely attack coastlines, causing devastating property damage and loss of life.

    Q: Are Tsunamis All the Same?
    A: No. U.S. coastal communities are threatened by tsunamis that are generated by both local earthquakes and distant earthquakes. Local tsunamis give residents only a few minutes to seek safety. Tsunamis of distant origins give residents more time to evacuate threatened coastal areas but increase the need for timely and accurate assessment of the tsunami hazard to avoid costly false alarms. Thus, U.S. residents in Alaska can experience a local earthquake and tsunami while residents of Hawaii and the west coast may experience this disaster as a distant tsunami. Similarly, west coast residents can experience a local tsunami that may also have an impact on the distant states of Alaska and Hawaii. Of the two, local tsunamis are more devastating.

    Q: Can Tsunamis Be Predicted?
    A: Since science cannot predict when earthquakes will occur, they cannot determine exactly when a tsunami will be generated. But with the aid of historical records of tsunamis and numerical models, scientists can get an idea where tsunamis are most likely to be generated.

    Tsunami Safety Tips

    • A strong earthquake felt in a low-lying coastal area is a natural warning of possible, immediate danger. Keep calm and quickly move to higher ground away from the coast.
    • All large earthquakes do not cause tsunamis, but many do. If the quake is located near or directly under the ocean, the probability of a tsunami increases. When you hear that an earthquake has occurred in the ocean or coastline regions, prepare for a tsunami emergency.
    • Tsunamis can occur at any time, day or night. They can travel up rivers and streams that lead to the ocean.
    • A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of waves. Stay out of danger until an "ALL CLEAR" is issued by a competent authority. Approaching tsunamis are sometimes heralded by noticeable rise or fall of coastal waters. This is nature's tsunami warning and should be heeded.
    • Approaching large tsunamis are usually accompanied by a loud roar that sounds like a train or aircraft. If a tsunami arrives at night when you can not see the ocean, this is also nature's tsunami warning and should be heeded.
    • A small tsunami at one beach can be a giant a few miles away. Do not let modest size of one make you lose respect for all.
    • Sooner or later, tsunamis visit every coastline in the Pacific. All tsunamis - like hurricanes - are potentially dangerous even though they may not damage every coastline they strike.
    • Never go down to the beach to watch for a tsunami! WHEN YOU CAN SEE THE WAVE YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO ESCAPE. Tsunamis can move faster than a person can run!
    • During a tsunami emergency, your local emergency management office, police, fire and other emergency organizations will try to save your life. Give them your fullest cooperation.
    • Homes and other buildings located in low lying coastal areas are not safe. Do NOT stay in such buildings if there is a tsunami warning.
    • The upper floors of high, multi-story, reinforced concrete hotels can provide refuge if there is no time to quickly move inland or to higher ground.
    • If you are on a boat or ship and there is time, move your vessel to deeper water (at least 100 fathoms). If it is the case that there is concurrent severe weather, it may may safer to leave the boat at the pier and physically move to higher ground.
    • Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can effect harbor conditions for a period of time after the tsunami's initial impact. Be sure conditions are safe before you return your boat or ship to the harbor.
    • Stay tuned to your local radio, marine radio, NOAA Weather Radio, or television stations during a tsunami emergency - bulletins issued through your local emergency management office and National Weather Service offices can save your life.

    Did You Know?

    • In 1964, an Alaskan earthquake generated a tsunami with waves between 10 and 20 feet high along parts of the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts. This tsunami caused more than $84 million in damage in Alaska and a total of 123 fatalities.
    • Although tsunamis are rare along the Atlantic coastline, a severe earthquake on November 18, 1929, in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland generated a tsunami that caused considerable damage and loss of life at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
    • In 1946, a tsunami with waves of 20 to 32 feet crashed into Hilo, Hawaii, flooding the downtown area and killing 159 people.
    • The Tsunami Warning Centers in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Palmer, Alaska, monitor disturbances that trigger tsunamis. When a tsunami is recorded, it is tracked and a tsunami warning is issued to the threatened area.
    • Most deaths during a tsunami are a result of drowning. Associated risks include flooding, polluted water supplies, and damaged gas lines.
    • Since 1945, more people have been killed as a result of tsunamis than as a direct result of an earthquake’s ground-shaking.

    Source: http://www.noaa.gov (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site) contributed to this report.


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