It is with barely contained horror that I read about the tragedy of the tsunamis raging across the Indian Ocean in Southeast Asia. I continue to read whatever I can about the situation as the news reports come in, with a particular interest in Thailand and Maluku in Indonesia. There are so very many villages along the coastal towns of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand; towns that have neither computers nor televisions, especially not in the numbers that many who access these blogs do.
As I continue to read in the news, there is considerable talk about warning systems, or rather, the lack of warning systems in the Indian Ocean, because of combined factors, one most notably the poverty of many nations in that part of the world, and also, according to news reports, the rarity of tidal waves in that region. There is no disputing that had people been warned, there would have been considerable less loss of life, but what the news reports seem to be missing is that the two nations who lost the most lives; Sri Lanka-19,000 lives lost , and the town of Meulaboh in Aceh province at the northen tip of Sumatra island losing 10,000; Aceh province being the victim of the double whammy: quake and tsunami, and another 9,000 throughout Aceh, are not exactly rich nations. Because of this, the warning system that the Pacific Ocean possesses, of which nations such as the US are a part, the cost alone would be a daunting challenge, let alone an alert system for tidal waves.
There have been some news reports circulating as well that just like in the Titanic movie, some people did not want to believe something tragic was in the works; that indeed, people were literally staring at the water receding and receding and did not begin to run till the wave appeared. Not only that, but the news reports that Thailand was the only nation to post a warning regarding potential tidal waves, almost a full two hours after one of the world's most powerful earthquakes, occurred.
All that news aside, entire fishing villages and the people who inhabited them, are completely gone. Some of these coastal towns and villages have yet to be searched, that is how isolated they are. The towns in and around the coast of Sri Lanka and Indonesia who lost so very many lives; bodies of which continue to wash ashore, are swamped with the dead, thousands and thousands of them, to identify, to bury, to mourn, and to try and avoid the disease that such astronomical numbers of dead are sure to spread, especially the airborne diseases and the communicable diseases associated with unsanitary conditions and unsafe drinking water.
Almost as devastating as the loss of life from this tsunami horror is the fact that one third of those who died are children.
The nations of the world are racing to help in any and all ways that they can; help that can and will stretch out far into the future.
In the meantime, may our thoughts, prayers and any help we ourselves can give be extended towards those in need at this time.