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    The Channel 9 Team

    Last night we were talking with Keith Pleas. Keith is a developer that we've known for more than a decade now. He worked on the help system in Windows 95. He also owned a furniture shop where he imported from around the world, particularly in the Asian Pacific. So, he's well connected in that part of the world.

    Last night he told us that we haven't even heard how bad the tsunami was. He told of one island where 20,000 people used to live. He said he heard that only 600 lived.

    Today the death toll was increased to 116,000 (thanks to Memeorandum for the link). That's a number that's beyond our comprehension.

    One of Keith's friends, Susi, who lives in Bali and travels frequently to Indonesia, has started a blog: the Aceh Aid Bucket Brigade.

    Blogs, like Susi's, are now helping build new kinds of relief networks and news networks.

    By the way, Susi reports that Continental Airlines is opening its doors wide. Corporate giving is really important at times like these. It's where corporations can show they are important parts of our society. Congrats to eBay, Google, Amazon (you can donate there with one click), Apple for linking to relief efforts.

    This is going to take years of giving to help fix. Microsoft has released an official statement:

    "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are committed to assisting the relief effort with cash, volunteer and technology resources and we are actively discussing ways that we can help with numerous international and local aid organizations. Over the past 48 hours our corporate headquarters and local Asia Pacific offices have identified in-country organizations who are providing critical support to the victims of this devastating event. We will continue to work with these local organizations to monitor the situation and determine needs for ongoing support. In addition to our corporate efforts many of our offices around the world have responded by setting up employee-giving programs."

    We'd like to give a shout out to our coworkers in India who are giving one-day's salary to this effort. More of us will join that effort.

    Our subsidiaries have reported what agencies they are donating funds and help to. Our branch in Indonesia is supporting the Palang Merah Indonesia (Red Cross of Indonesia) Our office in Sri Lanka is supporting Sarvodaya. Our subsidiary in Thailand is supporting the Office of Prime Minister Disaster Relief Fund. In India we're supporting the MS Swaminathan Foundation, and the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, among others.

    But, back on topic. Others are writing about how to help as well. Om Malik, senior writer at Business 2.0 magazine, is keeping a Tsunami Help Campaign page.

    TechWeb writes about another set of organizations that are helping out.

    What else can we do? Let us know.

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    It is so immense it is difficult for us to deal with as we confront our own complex and confusing lives. My thoughts keep returning to all the Mothers who have lost children and the Mothers who are left to wonder where their children are.

    Is there any way we can get thousands of cell-phones and distribute them in the regions affected? Communication is what we know how to do.    

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    Greater Monster

    I've donated money and hope to donate more in the coming weeks.

    I see the numbers but I stopped counting.

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    I too have donated and also hope to again.

    I do think the European Court (or whoever it was) should donate the £300m plus, that they fined Microsoft for whatever stupid reason it was. I think the people in those affected areas need the money more than where ever the courts are keeping it. I doubt Bill would mind as much if the money went to help these people. Is there any way of getting world pressure to force this?

    I do think that inspite of the tragedy, it has helped the world unite, in that so many nations and people are working towards a common goal. Differences have been set aside, the rich and the poor are working as one. And this can only be a good thing for hummanity in helping bring a peace to the world.

    Its good to see people like amazon etc putting links on their home pages. I would also like to know what donations they are making, especially companies who make millions in profit every year. Its one thing to tell us how we can help, its another for them to say how they are helping too.

    Over here in the UK, it would seem that public donations were more than the government was going to give and that it has shamed them into increasing their contribution. Lets hope other nations do the same. 

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    I find that this is an amazing time; after the tragedy. There wasn't any warning, there wasn't anything anyone could do, and it goes without saying I have the victims and their loved ones in my prayers.

    The world is now uniquely poised to be able to offer assistance, disregard many political barriers - which somehow seem to scale to irrelevance in the face of the devastation - and come to build something amazing.

    It is the first time in the modern world an initiative will have to scale so large without the main purpose being conflict. And it is the first time we are united as a race, through communication technology, and in a position to be able to help.

    As for what i can do, I feel guilty donating money. It seems such a feeble thing to do. Aid agencies are shipping bottled water, almost overwhelmed with how to cope, what to do next. I will donate; disregarding which agency is doing what, and target the funds at the government initiatives that have been setup.

    To wonder in awe at natural disasters in a movie theatre has left us expectant of a short sequence of events leading to an acceptable quick outcome. In reality, the relief, I think, will take years and will ultimately end up as an historical achievement.

    Without the ability to blame someone, to seek justice or even understanding, it is hard to find a sense of closure. To anyone who is grieving, for a friend or relative, I offer my sincere condolences. I pray that you find the strength within yourself to remember them fondly, and rise each day knowing they loved you too.


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    Its pretty difficult to conceive of what it must be like to live through something like this, or where to even begin trying to help the survivors.

    I think what makes it even harder is that in the worst hit areas, everything is gone. There is no infrastructure left to distribute the aid that is coming in. I read some particularly heart breaking stuff this weekend from locals in Indonesia returning to towns to look for family. They could not even work out where there houses used to be – all frames of reference were simply smashed and washed away. How do you even begin to cope with something like that?

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