Monday, December 27, 2004

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

My aunt, uncle, cousins, and a few other relatives were in Sri Lanka last weekend. We didn't know where in the country they were, but just that it was on their itinerary. When I read the island nation was hit by a tsunami wave and thousands were killed, it was startling to say the least.

Over the course of a couple of hours, my dad reached a cousin who had heard back from the crew and they are all safe. They were staying inland at higher elevations. Their biggest problem right now is that they are cut off from the airport. We were told that another member of the extended family was in Thailand and was driving around only to return and find that his hotel was gone. He is a lucky man.

This provided me with a thankfully small dose of how situations like this can work on the part of the brain that worries about things. We are thankful they weren't sipping margaritas at the pool at a beachside hotel or I would be telling a different tale today (and probably not on a blog).

Knowing people affected by these events in South Asia connects us to those more acutely affected by this massive earthquake. As always, Mercy Corps is on the job to help the survivors.

If you want to help out those whose lives were devastated, click this link to donate.

Update: There are actually two extended families (my cousin's brothers-in-law and families) in Phuket, Thailand. They are also safe, but they lost everything they brought to Thailand and now they are also trying to figure out how to get back home. This event has killed people from Somalia to Thailand. If these areas had the warning sirens that Seaside, Oregon has, it is possible that many thousands might have been saved. Very, very sad.

Update 2: Here is an article in the LA Times explaining what happened geologically to Sumatra in the earthquake: A Rare Tsunami, and a Change in Geography


thehim said...

Don, I'm glad to hear your relatives are safe. It is scary to realize how vulnerable we are here on the West Coast to something like this.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'm glad to hear your family's safe, too. My wife has an uncle that lives in Sri Lanka with his family. Apparently they came out okay, but they have pretty much fled the country indefinitely. I haven't heard any more details, but the reasons have to be pretty bad.

Considering the tsunami early-warning systems in place here in Japan and on the West Coast of the U.S., it surprises me no end that no one bothered setting up anything like that in that area, especially considering how geologically active the East Indies are. Is it poverty, irresponsibility, or plain stupidity?