Under the dramatic heading "U.S. sends relief teams, planes to Asian nations," CNN reports:
The United States has dispatched disaster teams to the Asian countries hit hard by a massive earthquake and devastating tsunamis and is preparing economic relief packages as well, U.S. officials said Monday.
The economic aid includes $100,000 each that was immediately sent to India, Indonesia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, and U.S. officials were discussing an additional $4 million contribution to help Red Cross disaster efforts.
Agency for International Development groups were sent to Thailand and Indonesia to make assessments and the team in Indonesia will go on to Sri Lanka, the officials said.
The U.S. Navy said it sent three P-3 surveillance aircraft from Kadena air base on the Japanese island of Okinawa to Utaphao, Thailand, to conduct survey operations, including a possible role in search-and-rescue efforts....
More than 20,000 people perished in the disaster, including at least six Americans.
"The United States stands ready to offer all appropriate assistance to those nations most affected," White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy said in a statement Sunday.
State Department spokesman Noel Clay said U.S. officials were working on ways to help. "The United States will be very responsive," he said, offering no details on plans for relief and assistance.
Let's see: $100,000 each to 4 countries--a total of $400,000. That's $20 per dead person. I'm glad that at least that much could be mustered in the first 48 hours.
And the "planes" and "relief teams"? Not actually planes carrying supplies and rescue teams to pull people clinging to makeshift liferafts or from flooded buildings, but rather reconnaissance planes and survey teams.
I don't minimize the importance of survey teams, but one would have thought that the U.S. could have spared a few rescue squads immediately.