Samoa Tsunami, disaster and response

Samoa was hit by an enormous Tsunami yesterday.  Here is some dramatic footage from the Associated Press.

Entire towns have been wiped out. Hundreds of people are reported killed and many thousands are now homeless. President Obama has offered his condolences and American support for a humanitarian operation.

Coming to help is Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) a UN Foundation*-Vodafone Foundation partnership that sets up emergency telecommunications systems in the immediate aftermath of disasters like this. These telecoms centers can be erected within 24 hours of an emergency and provide critical logistical support to relief NGOs and UN agencies. TSF also sets up call centers where people affected by a disaster can contact loved-ones.  

The scale of this devastation from this Tsunami has not been fully realized.  We will stay on this story throughout the week. 

Meanwhile in the Philippines, flooding from cyclone Ketsana has drowned cities and the countryside.  Some 80% of Manila, which has a population of 12 million people, is submerged.  TSF is on the scene. As is the World Food Program, which is delivering food rations to 180,000 people.  

*As regular readers know, UN Dispatch enjoys the sponsorship of the UN Foundation