Press Releases

    SG/SM/9662
         IHA/977
         4 January 2005

    ‘Time to Show that When Calamity Strikes, Humankind Can Unite’, Says Secretary-General in Video Message

    NEW YORK, 31 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s video message for events held in solidarity with those affected by the tsunami in Asia:

    Dear friends,

    The tsunami disaster of 26 December cut deep into the heart of our common humanity.  It happened during a special season, close to the beginning of a new year -- a time when people should have been inspired to hope.

    Instead, they were stricken by a disaster so brutal, so quick and so

    far-reaching that we are still struggling to comprehend it.  A disaster that has registered deeply in the consciousness and conscience of the world.

    This is a time for all of us to pull together -- North and South, East and West, governments and citizens, the media and the military, non-governmental organizations and international institutions.

    This is a time to grieve for the dead and offer condolences to their loved ones.

    This is a time to support those who are still searching for family members; support the survivors, especially the poor; and support the many millions who are vulnerable throughout the region.

    This is a time to show that when calamity strikes, humankind can unite to help and protect its own.

    Already, millions of people around the world have stepped forward to help.

    It is now crucial that the whole international community works together, so that our common efforts bring the earliest possible relief.

    And it is crucial that we sustain our response for the long term -- because the effects of this tragedy will be felt for a very long time.

    So I urge all of you to be generous in your contributions.

    Together, we will work to rebuild the lives, livelihoods and communities devastated by this catastrophe.

    Together, we will send a message of hope.

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