Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster

I don’t usually touch on political and world events here, but the magnitude of the human and economic disaster in the countries around the Indian Ocean compels me to join many others in expressing early disbelief, horrified awe and shock at the power of nature’s destruction and a great sadness for the staggering numbers of lives lost, over 68,000 dead in 11 countries at last count. The most tragic is that UNICEF estimates at least one-third, possibly up to a half of the lives lost were children (from today’s Vancouver Sun headline article “A Generation Swept Away”). The coming days and weeks and months will be extremely challenging and the young are the most vulnerable to any lack of clean water, food and medical care.

For those of us living on the west coat of North America, this is another reminder of the huge possibility of an earthquake here. We do have the West Coast /Alaska Tsunami Warning Center here, and there are calls to have such a warning system set up in the Indian Ocean region, led by Australia. Such warnings might have saved many many lives in areas furthest from the quake epicenter, where the tsunamis hit up to 2 1/2 hours later.

Yesterday, two of my favourite bloggers wrote very compelling articles related to this disaster. Beth at Cassandra Pages talked about her fear of oceans and features the very meaningful Hokusai print The Great Wave. Ronni of Time Goes By reported on the safety of another blogger Thomas Brinson who has been stationed in Sri Lanka the past few months.

Some good useful links from the great number out there:
SEA-EAT aid resources
Doctors Without Borders
tsunami possible on Pacific Northwest coast

UPDATE Dec.29.04. The terrible toll keeps rising, now at 80,000 lives! On a personal note, I have just had a reply from Finland that a cousin and her husband, who went to Thailand on Christmas Day, are fine – they are holidaying in an area unaffected by the tsunami. We are all relieved and grateful, considering how many hundreds from Finland, Canada and numerous other countries are unaccounted for. My heart is sore for all this tragedy.

UPDATE Dec.30.04. 120,000 lost souls! Finland has many of its citizens visit Thailand and 260 are still unaccounted for. On New Year’s Day flags will fly at half-mast and the government’s traditional New Year reception is cancelled. It is Finland’s largest loss of lives in peacetime. ( from Helsingin Sanomat, Finnish edition). Canada’s missing are thankfully a smaller number, yet all heart-rending stories.

December 28, 2004 in Current Events by Marja-Leena