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Clinton, Bush to Tour Disaster Zone

February 18, 2005

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Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush on Saturday will begin a tour of areas hit hard by the Sumatra Tsunami. One of their goals will be to buoy the spirits of the exhausted aid workers still spending their waking hours trying to help the sick, find the missing, and console the survivors. Another goal is to encourage people around the world to keep on giving.

The death toll has exceeded 300,000, with most lists now including those missing in the presumed dead category. Aid workers continue to work overtime, hoping for the best as they try to bring some kind of order to areas still wracked by poverty and civil unrest.

The amount of private donations to the relief effort so far exceeds $2 billion. But Clinton, Bush, and others want more. Whole villages were wiped off the map, people, buildings, businesses and all. The survivors are looking to make some kind of fresh start, and they need lots of money and help to do it. Part of what Clinton and Bush will be doing is to highlight the good things that have been done with the money that has already been donated, such as helping to rebuild villages and lives in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and other countries hit hard by the tsunami.

The two former presidents are the latest in a series of international figures who have toured the area, including United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Archaeologists are working underwater off the coast of Mahabalipuram. They hope that continued excavations will yield even more results.

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