Dear reader

THE Coffs Coast Advocate today launches a major Tsunami Relief Appeal in which our readers can play a key role in helping the survivors of Sunday's Asian disaster. APN newspapers throughout Queensland and northern NSW, including the Coffs Coast Advocate, aim to raise as much as $1 million over the next few days. Martin Simons, CEO of APN Regional Newspapers, yesterday pledged $100,000 towards the APN Tsunami Relief Appeal on both sides of the Tasman, calling on readers to support families devastated by the tragedy. As the tsunami death toll nears 120,000, authorities are battling outbreaks of disease which they fear could lead to thousands of more deaths. The need is desperate and urgent. As Editor of the Coffs Coast Advocate, I am appealing to our readers to look within, dig deep and donate to our neighbours in their hour of need. From 10am to 3pm tomorrow and Monday, Coffs Coast Advocate staff will be manning special phonelines on site to receive your donations. Due to the difficulty of collecting small sums, only donations in multiples of $100 will be able to be received over the phone. Donations may be pledged by phoning 6650 2916, 6650 2917 or 6650 2918 tomorrow or Monday only, from 10am to 3pm. From Tuesday, staff will be volunteering their time in our reception to process donations. No donation will be deemed too small to accept, and receipts will be issued. Several local businesses have already dug deep and made either $500 or $1000 donations ? for this, we sincerely thank you. I encourage our readers to band together to donate lots of $500 as groups comprising family, friends, workmates, club members, colleagues, neighbours or associates to support the tsunami victims. Funds raised by the APN Tsunami Relief Appeal will directly assist tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, where 22,500 people have died and almost 10 per cent of the nation's population are homeless. Sri Lanka is perhaps the country hardest hit by the tsunamis fury and the one where the need is the greatest. APN reporter Mark Furler and photographer Kevin Farmer yesterday flew to Colombo to report on the situation in Sri Lanka, where authorities say the most urgent need is for food, water, cooking supplies and medicine. CARE Australia will be responsible for delivering our readers' generous support to the people of Sri Lanka. The generosity and compassion of our readers is well-known. I know you will do what you can to help the victims of a tragedy whose extent is something that we can hardly comprehend. All donations are tax deductible. Our appeal ends on Friday, January 7, 2005. The results and a list of all those who made a donation will be published in the Coffs Coast Advocate. Yours sincerely, Lee McDougall Editor



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