Sumatra earthquake and tsunami costliest disaster ever

Red Cross and Oxfam are both heavily involved in the relief efforts in south Asia. Either one would be good to donate to. Both are reputable.

This disaster is being called the costliest disaster ever, and estimates are that damages exceed 1 BILLION dollars.

The Sri Lankan government has said it will likely take this country decades to recover.

News reports seem to be indicating that this will top 60,000 or more BEFORE the epidemics start. Some reports are indicating that we’ve already reached 60,000 dead, and there are still tens of thousands missing or unaccounted for.

There are 19,000 confirmed dead in Sri Lanka. Not an estimate. Confirmed. Thousands more still unaccounted for. Now a million and a half homeless here.

Elizabeth: That’s why I provided that. I WANT you and others to have something to identify with. The more you identify, the more likely you’ll help. And I want you to help. Without the generosity of you and others like you, this area of the world will sink even deeper into poverty.

Sri Lanka was doing well – relatively speaking – at having annual per person earnings of $850 US per year, compared to India’s $250 and the US at over $30,000. That will drop and the cost of living will increase. It already has since the tsunami. Bottled water has increased 20% in price from two days ago. One example.

Fishing as an industry is virtually wiped out here, and that supported a lot of families, a lot of villages. Fish was also a more affordabe source of protein for most people. Chicken, beef, or mutton – for those who could eat those products – were a luxery, not something they had even every month. But now that there’s virtually no fishing industry, what will they be able to afford?

Tourism as an industry will likely be wiped out if the government doesn’t make major efforts and go into massive debt to rebuild it quickly. But that will still falter for a while unless people from richer nations decide to visit here despite the destruction.

And this is one thing my sister has talked about. One of the best things you can do to help this part of the world – other than donating money or goods – is to vacation here. Contribute to the local economy. That will help this area recover, too, in a big way. And you will gain the experience of a lifetime.

Side note: when the editor of the travel magazine called, he mentioned to Fahim that the magazine may go belly-up simply because there may no longer be any tourism industry to support. If it does continue, the focus of the magazine will have to change, at least for the next few months. The issue that’s schedule to come out in a few days focused on one seaside town with great appeal to tourists, but that village no longer exists. And what do we do now with that issue? Destroy it and cancel it? Issue it anyway with an apology? It’s damned tactless to just issue it as is – it makes a mockery of all the dead from those villages.

Richard was supposed to go on a trip to do hotel reviews for the next issues. That trip is now cancelled because those hotels may no longer be there or are too damaged.If the magazine goes forward, the articles have to be reshuffled. Well, if the magazine goes forward, the articles have to change anyway – the ones that have already been written are no longer appropriate for this country.

So yes, support tourism in these affected areas, but at the same time, give us some time to recover from this hell that we’re going through.

And please, continue to pray for the people here. Not just for a few days, but for the months to come. The suffering doesn’t stop just because it’s no longer in the news, although it hasn’t yet reached that point.

Author: LMAshton

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