for the past several days, i’ve been getting doses after doses of tsunami updates from the tv at home, to the radio while driving, to the news i read over the net, to people talking about it.
while all these updates are amazingly informative, i’m particularly taken abacked by the blogging community’s response to the catastrophe. just about every other blog i’ve visited [and i do visit quite a number daily] over the past few days have some sorta of mention over the tragedy. there have been blogs such as tsunami help and tsunami penang set up to document almost hourly accounts of the relief efforts going on in devastated areas in malaysia and around the region.
the current death toll stands at 134,000 people and is expected rise as high up as 400,000. at least two islands in indonesia are predicted to be completely devoid of all life. rescue and relief efforts have not mobilised forces large enough to find out for sure. several other areas in aceh is just being reached today and people there have not been without food, water or shelter for four days now. there is also speculations that some of the tinier islands might even be washed off the map altogether.
it deeply saddens me to see to see images of death and devastation. i’ve seen dozens and dozens of footages of engulfing waves, people holding one to buildings and palm trees, and people swept away by the water.
what is even more depressing are images of people who emerge from the rubbles and the idea of people who never emerged from the devastation, lines of rotting bodies which largely remains unidentified; people adding more and more corpses to the line of unidentified bodies; people picking out family members, friends and neighbours from the lines of rotting bodies; people waiting in dwindling anticipation for the return of family members whom they have reported as missing; people picking through the dirt which was once their homes and their whole life; people whom have lost everything to the nature’s warth.
in a crude way of looking at it, the world finally sees, after 200 years, a tragedy of unprecedented scale caused by a force other than human beings themselves. we are now put in a situation where there is no one to blame for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, millions of lives devastated and billions of dollars worth of property damaged.
how do people react when there is really no one to blame?
simply said, we don’t.
they say that the light of love shines through come our darkest hour. and although critics would argue that relief efforts are moving just way too frigging slowly and that food and medical supplies are not reaching as many people who fairly needs the supplies as they liked, you still need to consider this; the mobilization of over ten thousand volunteers, medical personnels and ngo officers dispersed over the most critical areas of south asia is something to shout out about. the trained japanese relief workers who flew into the affected areas within 24 hours of the tragedy is something to shout out about. the thais who opened their storm struck doors to lost and wounded tourists is something to shout out about. free vacination operations which begin in india is something to shout out about.
and whether you like it or not, the people of malaysia raising over RM17.5 million for the victims in penang, kedah and perak in under four days is damn right something to shout out about.
sure you say it’s not enough. they speculate that we need at least RM20 million in those places. but consider this, at almost five million ringgit a day, i do see some light in people’s lives.
for a lot of the affected victims, the water was their lifeforce and their lifeline. for years, the water gave them what they needed to survive and then some. for others, the water gave them peace and tranquility. for many more, the water meant romantic walks and sandcastles.
the water undid the lives of millions in under ten minutes.
the water brought together the thoughts and prayers of billions in a matter of seconds.
yeah, it’s going to be a tough new year. but we are not alone. at least in spirit. have a blessed one.