The sheer scale of this disaster is horrific and what is worse is that the full extent of the damage is still not known in areas worst hit.
While the worst affected areas are Sri Lanka (11,000 estimated dead), Indonesia (4,500 estimated dead), India (3,500 estimated dead) and Thailand (839 estimated dead) countries such as Malaysia, Maldives, Burma and Bangladesh have also been affected. Hundreds of Somalis are feared to have drowned in the massive waves produced by the earthquake. Waves that swept 7,000km (4,000 miles) from the epicentre, also struck Kenya, Mauritius, Reunion and the Seychelles.
The earthquake which was the fifth strongest since 1900 had a particularly widespread effect because it seems to have taken place just below the surface of the ocean
I cannot feel anything but the utmost sympathy for all those who have been involved and for the families and friends of those who have died.
The most practical way to show our concern is to give assistance to those countries that have been devastated. International organisations have already made pledges to help the victims. The Red Cross launched an appeal for £3.5m, The European Union pledged £2.1m, Australia has promised £4m and sent two air force planes carrying drinking water and purification equipment to Indonesia, Russia has sent 25 tons of humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka, the UK is sending an aid flight to Sri Lanka with plastic sheeting and tenting and the French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier will travel on a plane carrying humanitarian aid and doctors to Sri Lanka and Thailand.
I have heard man time on radio over the weekend that planes will be travelling from UK to help bring back UK citizens stranded in the countries hot by the earthquake (probably the biggest natural disaster of our lifetime to date) I hope that these planes do not go empty but take things clean drinking water, purification, sanitation kits, food, shelter and clothes for those who have now lost everything they had.