Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, December 30, 2004

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Hyde Developing Aid Package for
Victims of South Asian Tsunami

Leach Set to Travel to Disaster Area in January
 

(WASHINGTON) - U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) said Thursday that he is drafting legislation to assist victims of the South Asian Tsunami that he plans to introduce early next year.

“The infrastructure of daily life is simply gone,” said Hyde of the disaster zone which includes coastal areas of Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and the eastern coast of Africa. “The challenges of coping with suffering on this magnitude are almost unfathomable, and we will act,” he added.

Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said findings of a congressional delegation scheduled to visit Thailand and Sri Lanka next week will be important in shaping any aid legislation. The delegation will be led by U.S. Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific.

“Victims and relief workers are confronting the obvious and urgent need for humanitarian assistance today. We must help them meet those needs and tackle the long-term challenge of rebuilding lives, homes, schools and jobs. The enormity of this challenge is still unfolding, and we must pay particular attention to the urgent plight of children orphaned by the disaster,” Hyde said.

Hyde said President Bush was correct in urging on Wednesday a determined and coordinated response to the catastrophe among affected and donor nations alike.

“Undertaking relief work in a disaster area stretching across two continents and an ocean requires a level of international coordination unseen in the annals of modern emergency response,” said Hyde. “Time and geography are the enemies in this crisis, and we must ensure that coalition assistance is targeted and effective.”

Hyde praised relief efforts already undertaken by Japan, Australia, India, Britain, Germany, Norway and the work of numerous non-governmental and faith-based organizations. Hyde also expressed his appreciation for the generous outpouring of support for private relief efforts by Americans.

“We share in the grief of the people who have been tragically affected by this disaster and stand with them in their determination to recover and rebuild their lives.”

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