Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami Stories

The BBC is reporting that the number of deaths in Southeast Asia could exceed 100,000. Relief efforts are just starting;

...The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the death toll from the actual disaster could reach six figures once more remote areas are checked for victims.

More than 500,000 have been reported injured across the region.

"We're facing a disaster of unprecedented proportion in nature," said the federation's Asia-Pacific chief, Simon Missiri.
Samuel left a comment here pointing to his post about his mother's first hand account from India;

Some five minutes later, the water level began to rise. As I began walking towards the shore, everyone was shouting at me from the shore. I turned back and saw that my husband was struggling in the water unable to stand up. I ran to him and lent him a helping hand as the water was surging over us. The weight of the water and the speed of the wave crippled us. The water kept on surging and we were unable to stand up. Some Coast Guard personnel and some good samaritans came to our rescue. Till then the water was rising up slowly. Then the water overflowed over the banks in a huge surge and we were running to safety. Our Lord saved us. The water had pushed us towards the shore and not pulled us in. What a miraculous escape. It all happened on the 26th around 10:40 AM. Only when we went home and saw the TV did we realise that we had a miraculous escape. My heart goes to all the people who have perished and been rendered homeless. Lord help the survivors and our people.
Samuel adds a couple of comments;

What's missing in her account is the fact that as they were running for their lives they saw a neighboring fishing village being devastated by the tides.

Also the fact that she dedided to hold onto my father when it became obvious she could not lift him preferring to die with him rather than try making it to the shore.
The BBC program The World did a piece today on blogs being "a place of refuge for people in times of crisis." They provide a few links, one being to a group site called ChiensSansFrontiers. They received a first-hand report from a man who used his cell phone's text SMS (short message service) since phones and electricity were out. Here is one of those messages;

Found 5 of my friends, 2 dead. Of the 5, 4 are back in Colombo. The last one is stranded because of a broken bridge. Broken his leg. But he's alive. Made contact. He got swept away but swam ashore. Said he's been burying people all day. Just dragging them off the beach and digging holes with his hands. Going with gear to get him tommorrow morning. He sounded disturbed. Guess grave digging does that to you.
If you're looking for ways to help, you might want to visit this site; The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami.

boingboing provides a number of links to blogs with stories, news reports, info on relief efforts and pictures here, here and here.

Bishop Councell of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey has sent our congregations a message asking that we "...make a generous offering of prayer and of financial support for the relief of all those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami." Here are his closing words and prayer;

...In this season of Christmastide, we recall the words of the Bidding Prayer at the Festival of Lessons and Carols:

"And because he particularly loves them, let us remember in his name the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed, the sick and those who mourn, the lonely and unloved, the aged and little children, as well as those who do not know and love the Lord Jesus Christ."

May we offer our prayers, our gifts and our lives, that the love of our Lord Jesus Christ may be made known to all and the light of Christ may shine forth in these dark days.


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