As the tsunami tragedy continues to unfold, no words can describe the horror and suffering of the millions of people affected. The death toll at this writing is already over 120,000 and may exceed 200,000. The AFL-CIO’s American Center for International Labor Solidarity (Solidarity Center), which has field offices located in the countries that have suffered the most damage, is working hand-in-hand with our union partners, as well as with other organizations and governments, to provide help and relief for union members and their families in the aftermath of this disaster.
Solidarity Center offices in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are helping the region’s unions to mobilize in response to the immediate humanitarian crisis, and international unions have already begun to send donations of goods and cash. International relief organizations are helping to meet immediate needs for food, water, blankets, medical supplies and clothing. Beyond the immediate humanitarian crisis, however, workers will be affected for years to come. Thousands of union members and their families are missing or dead. Many no longer have homes. The destruction of factories, hotels. restaurants and roads has left tens of thousands of garment, tourist and public sector workers without jobs.
Through the Solidarity Center, the AFL-CIO is committed to providing workers and their families with long-term support for housing, reconstruction and other aid. As the rebuilding begins, we must be ready to assist our brothers and sisters in Asia who are fighting for their lives and burying their dead as you read this.
The AFL-CIO has established a relief fund that will receive donations from unions and individuals to assist working families and their unions in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other countries in Asia and Africa affected by the tsunami. We are asking for your contribution. Please make out a check marked Tsunami Relief, payable to Solidarity Center Education Fund, and send it to:
Tsunami Relief Fund Solidarity Center
1925 K Street, N.W., Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006-1105
American union members must help Asian workers and their families rebuild their lives. This is our opportunity to show the unions of Asia that American unions stand with them. I urge you to join us in assisting our Asian brothers and sisters in this time of tragedy and intense need.