Canberra Multicultural Community Forum Chair Sam Wong said he was shocked and saddened by the Pacific earthquake and tsunami which has killed more than 120 people in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.
“Coming just 24 hours after Typhoon Ketsana which has devastated parts of the Philippines and Vietnam, and now the earthquake in Indonesia, this has been a week in which we have had a powerful demonstration of just how vulnerable humankind is in the face of the forces of nature,” Mr Wong said.
“It is times like these that teach us how much we depend on each other, and how we need to come together to offer support and sustenance to those touched by these terrible tragedies.
“While it is just 24 hours since CMCF made an appeal on behalf of the typhoon victims, we are moved to once again urge Canberrans to support the Red Cross, this time in its efforts to provide aid to the survivors of the Pacific Tsunami.”
Mr Wong said many Australians had been raised with the idea that the Pacific Island nations were remote paradises living in harmony with nature.
“In fact many of these communities are quite poor and the people, sometimes living just a couple of metres above sea-level, are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes,” he said.
“These islands are indeed remote and that adds to the difficulty of helping them in situations like these.
“As regards the Indonesian tragedy, initial reports indicate the Indonesians can handle it domestically, but I am sure all Australians will stand ready to give assistance to our nearest neighbour if it is required.”
He urged Canberrans to visit the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org.au and to click on the Pacific Tsunami (Samoa and Tonga) Appeal. Alternatively, they can ring 1800 811 700.
“Please be patient because I understand that with so much going on, both the number and the web address are at full capacity,” Mr Wong said.