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Asian Disaster requires long-term response

5 January, 2005


Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness speaking after meeting the Keightley family in Cookstown before some members left for Thailand to search for their missing brother Conor has said that the Tsunami disaster requires a long-term response.

Mr McGuinness said:

"2004 saw many catastrophes including earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes, storms and floods. In a part of the world used to rain we can be thankful that the exceptional floods witnessed in Derry last year only resulted in limited damage to homes and businesses. Nothing we witnessed during the year prepared us for one of the planet's worst catastrophes. I witnessed first hand the devastation brought to families directly affected by this disaster when I visited the Keightley family in Cookstown before some members left for Thailand to search for their missing brother Conor. My prayers and best wishes go with them.

"The Tsunami on St. Stephens Day struck Asia with such power that within minutes, almost 200,000 people died and millions of people's lives have been destroyed. Aid agencies are predicting that its effects will be felt for many years to come. The majority of people in the countries hardest hit, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Indonesia, live in dire poverty. An area where millions die each year from preventable causes such as measles and malnutrition demands urgent action on debt cancellation.

"Whatever the reason this catastrophe has focused our attention on our increasingly unpredictable climate. There is mounting evidence of the need to make the switch from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy. Ecologists have been telling world leaders for years that climate change associated with global warming is a disaster waiting to happen. Few governments were listening.

"The governments of the first world have known for many years that the po

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