Letter of solidarity with the people of Asia after devastating tsunami

28 December 2004

Letter of Accompaniment to the People of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldive Islands, Somalia, Sumatra, Bangladesh and Burma, and to members of The People's Health Movement, from the Board of Directors, Doctors for Global Health:

Please accept our warmest greetings and deepest condolences from the Board of Directors of Doctors for Global Health (www.dghonline.org - virtual office in the USA), part of People's Health Movement USA Circle of the Global PHM. We send this message to all members, to those associated with the People's Health Movement and to all those now suffering in the South Asia region. We were sincerely saddened to learn of the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck without warning in the South Asia region this past Sunday. We are perplexed and saddened that early warning systems in place under the leadership of the United States and other countries had no effect in advising the imminent danger. We send you our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies on the loss of life of so many thousands and thousands of citizens - the death toll still mounting - and on the destruction that will require a very long time from which to even begin to recover at a minimal level.

We in the Doctors for Global Health and PHM community are accompanying you from afar at the time of this great tragedy. We stand in solidarity with your suffering people. We are encouraged that teams have come to join your communities and governments to aid in the rescue, and also that shipments of aid have begun entering your countries at this time of great need, but we are saddened that the response has not been more rapid and not to a greater extent. We can only hope that this beginning of worldwide aid will continue and will mark the beginning of doors opening even further, creating networks that will allow communities, governments, organizations and individuals to act more humanely as a global community in the future.

May these important networks allow for rapid responses to whatever human tragedy, challenge or situation may arise and necessitate urgent action. While our organization is dedicated to long-term accompaniment rather than emergency response, we hope that it will be of some comfort to know that the Board of Directors of Doctors for Global Health as part of the PHM USA Circle of the Global PHM, is keeping you and the people of South Asia in our thoughts at this most difficult time. Though usually we do not solicit donations for acute emergencies, we sometimes receive them. Any donations we receive earmarked for this disaster will be contributed to an organization on the ground there; we are open to any suggestions of specific aid organizations you might have.

We will also as individuals advocate for international reconstruction aid in whatever manner we are able.

In Solidarity,

Lanny Smith
President's Council & Liberation Medicine Counsel
Doctors for Global Health
PHM USA Circle of the Global PHM

Shirley J. Novak
DGH Advocacy Counsel

Copy: Ravi Narayan, PHM Secretariat, secretariat@phmovement.org