Published 1 January 2005

No one could fail to be moved by the pictures we have seen of the devastation across the region. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost family or friends, and also with those who still await news of loved ones who are missing.

As the world comes to terms with the scale of the disaster, I have been impressed by the willingness of people in Britain to give generously in support of the international response, through donations, time, money or help with the relief effort on the ground.

It's especially sad that these events are unfolding at the New Year, traditionally a time of celebration and hope. But it makes it all the more heartening that so many people have taken time during this holiday period to contribute in whatever way they can. To all those people, I send my heartfelt thanks.