On Sunday, 26 December 2004, the greatest earthquake in 40 years occurred about 150 kilometers off the west coast of northern Sumatra Island in Indonesia. The earthquake generated a disastrous tsunami that caused damage in 18 countries and destruction in 11 countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
The death toll count was almost 300,000 people. Over 5 million people were affected by the tsunamis and well over a million were left homeless. Of the fatalities, almost half were in Indonesia with very high casualties in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand as well.
Waves of up to 10.5 meters in height struck Northern Sumatra, the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India. Destructive waves also struck the Maldives, Somalia, Kenya and the islands off the African coast.
Today, a massive international aid effort has rebuilt tens of thousands of homes, schools and roads.
Over 7 billion U.S. Dollars have been provided as humanitarian aid for those affected by the tsunami and as a result many of these regions have recovered sufficiently to provide for their inhabitants. However, there remains much to be done. In Sri Lanka the Tamil Tigers (a guerilla organization) have prevented much of the necessary aid being conveyed to affected people. Throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand fishing villages have been destroyed beyond repair. The occupants of these villages simply have nowhere to go and they still have nothing.
Each year since the tragedy, the communities that have been affected by the Tsunami have had touching memorial services and this year, many of the communities will include candles floating in the ocean as a part of their service.
UNICEF was one of the first organizations to reach the devastated areas. Clay Aiken traveled to Indonesia’s tsunami-ravaged Aceh province the following March. According to the UNICEF site:
He saw firsthand how UNICEF was successfully addressing the physical and emotional needs of children affected by the disaster, and he brought this message of hope back to Congress. The new celebrity ambassador pointed out that the assistance Congress provides to UNICEF in the annual appropriations enables it to be an effective partner of the United States in responding to emergencies like the South Asian tsunami. He testified that the funding provided by Congress to UNICEF is an investment that yields returns for children in jeopardy around the world.
Clay Aiken is an example of an accomplished celebrity who is lending his talent and heart to bring UNICEF’s work to the attention of the decision-makers in Washington. He is among those who truly serve as ambassadors to the legislative leaders who can help make this a world fit for children.
When I look back and remember, it reminds me of how very lucky I am. It also makes me very proud to be a fan of Clay Aiken. After all, this is the kind of thing that I expect when I think about Clay!
Do you think that Clay will continue his work with UNICEF?
I think he will continue his UNICEF work and
use his voice to speak for all who can’t. Proud of Clay and all the work
I definitely think Clay will keep working with. UNICEF in some way no matter what the future holds. I’m sure we will get the news soon. Although I must admit I think he’s going to retire now. If there were a project coming up Clay would be trying to get us excited for that instead of so much worrying. I think he’s giving us time to get used to the idea. Whatever he chooses to do I will give him my support.
Yes, I do believe Clay will continue to work with UNICEF. That is a part of who he is.
what ever clay chooses to do he has my understanding and support i have a feeling that clay will be keeping working with unicef work and use his voice to speak for all whoo cant im verry pround to be clays fan i hope that he doest retire
When I first started following Clay, it was of course due to his wonderful voice. As I became more aware of how much he cares for and works for children, I became aware of how much he work he has done through UNICEF and other organizatins. I think he will always work for children throughtout our world. That makes me very proud to be a fan of his.
Clay will always be helping others regardless of what platform he uses. Proud fan 😀