RUNIC Press Release
5 January 2005

Death Toll Tops 150 000 As Relief Effort Gets Into High Gear

Brussels, 5 January 2005 (RUNIC) – Joining an initiative of the Belgian Government and the European Commission, the Regional Information Centre for Western Europe interrupted all activities today at 12:00 noon to observe three minutes of silence for the victims of the Tsunami desater in Southern Asia.

This demonstration of solidarity with the affected region came against the backdrop of a rising death-toll now well over 150 000 with thousands still unaccounted for. Altogether 1 million people were displaced and about 5 million are in urgent need of assistance. Having overcome many initial obstacles, the United Nations is now, according to the UN chief relief coordinator Jan Egeland, “making extraordinary progress in reaching the majority of the people affected in the majority of the areas”.

In a surge of unprecedented global generosity, well over 2 billion US dollars have been pledged for emergiency relief activities.

Pledges – Contributions

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affaires (OCHA) in Geneva is prepared to serve as a channel for unearmarked cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details, please contact the desk officers indicated below.

Desk Officers: Mr. Erik Hägglund/Mr. Soichi Nakajima
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 32 99/ 4034
Mr. Rudi Müller/Ms. Caroline Péguet
Direct Tel. 41-22-917 3131 / 1836
Press contact: (GVA)
Ms. Elisabeth Byrs direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
Ms. Stephanie Bunker direct Tel. +1-917 367 51 26
Mr. Brian Grogan direct Tel. +1-212-963 11 43

For offers of services please contact Ms Isabelle de Muyser-Boucher +41-22-917 3290
Those wishing to get personally involved in the relief and reconstruction effort may wish to contact the UN Volunteers in Bonn (+49-228- 815 2000) or contact their local UNICEF offices.

For information only - Not an official document

Regional United Nations Information Centre for Western Europe
RUNIC Brussels: Résidence Palace, Block C2, 5th floor- 155, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 155, 1040 Brussels, Belgium,
Tel.: +32 2 289 2890 • Fax: 32 2 502 4061 • E-mail:

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