Wednesday, December 29, 2004More On The Tsunami
In my previous post on the subject, I mentioned my buddy Ismail from the Maldives. It's such a tiny country, a group of something like 1200 islands -- some no bigger than a typical American suburban house and yard -- that most of the other students at the film school had no clue where it was. He'd point to a place just south of India, an invisible country floating on the sea. He told us good-naturedly about the inevitable doom his country faced... as the oceans rose, eventually his family would have to emigrate elsewhere entirely (they already divided their time between the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and London) as the islands that made up the nation disappeared under the surf; it was part of Maldivian conventional wisdom that their country wouldn't last another century. He anticipated that it might happen within his lifetime, although I doubt he expected such an abrupt preview:
The Asian tsunami has delivered unto the Maldives that nation's worst nightmare, a disaster foretold: being drowned by the sea. Located just southwest of India, the Maldives form an archipelago with an inhabited area a bit larger than Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, two-thirds of the capital city, Male, was flooded, the waters having easily breached a 6-foot-tall breakwater. At least 63 people have died, 72 are missing, and 12,000 people have been moved from the country's outlying islands to the capital. A quarter of the Maldives' 80 tourist resorts have been destroyed, and dozens of the 1,200 islands are still under water. In some of those, says Ahmed Khaleel, counselor to the Maldives' mission to the United Nations, "the tsunami hit from one side of the island and left from the other. Everything was wiped out."
I haven't heard from Ismail as of yet, so I have no idea whether his family was among those affected.
Also, I know everyone's linking to this today, but it's really worth a look. WaveofDestruction.org is supplying not only videos and photos of the disaster, but also links to a large number of relief organizations. I have to say, it's pretty incredible to see what a tsunami actually looks like from the beach where it's about to land. The posted video from Phuket is particularly striking. There's a restaurant being invaded by waves, the camera pans outside for a moment, and when it pans back everything inside the restaurant is just... gone. |