Monday, December 26, 2005

Tsunami First Anniversary

Today marks the first year anniversary of the deadly tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people across Asia. On December 28 last year, I blogged about Evelyn Rodriguez, one of the tsunami survivors. This is the post taken from my old blog.
Evelyn Rodriguez was one of the many who experienced the tsunami on Phi Phi Island, Thailand. She wrote in her blog Crossroad Dispatches saying she was slammed by tidal waves but she is ok. She said she was on the beach and was too slow to react when the tsunami hit. Soon she was floating in rapids containing debris, wood and other building materials. In her latest entry she wrote:

Things are absolute madhouse here. Looks like a marketplace with tents and booths - but nothing is being sold just given away. Thousands of people here sorting through embassy stuff here. The government of Thailand and the people here have been absolutely wonderful providing free clothing, water, toiletries, food, accomodations, flights back to Bangkok and on and on.

Glad to know you're safe Evelyn.
Today, she is back at Phi Phi Island, the place where she was nearly killed last year. From Crossroad Dispatches:
We stood for a minute of silence at 10:15 a.m. this morning.

Later after the deputy prime minster has spoken, we file towards the bay. A six or seven-year old blond girl with a white sundress gently bows and places her palms into a triangular wai.

She lays a white orchid given to each surviving family member at the ceremony by the altar ledge fringed with flowers, photos, incense sticks and remembrances circling the banyan tree wrapped in rainbow colored sashes. Her mother stands behind with the jeweled bay stark in the background.
Over at a BBC newsforum, people who are affected by the tsunami are sharing their views and experiences. From BBC:
My wife and I went to visit Thailand during the weeks following the tsunami.It was Chinese New Year and many chinese people visit Phuket at that time but did not do so in 2005 as they were afraid of ghosts.The Thai people need the tourist to come back more than donations.Many jobs were lost due to the devastation but you could see the rebuilding effort starting even then.The Thai people have never been conquered and the tsunami and its effects will soon be defeated.
Visit Thailand

-roger eldridge, hong kong

I was in Bangkok on 26/12/04 . In response to the horror that unfolded during that day, the hotel in which I was staying sent around a notice asking guests willing to donate blood to gather the next morning to be taken to the Red Cross.Well, there must have been 200 people there...all nationalities, religions,races, ethnicities.In the midst of the tsunami horror it gave me a strong and quite moving sense of being part of a world community

-Paul, Melbourne
Ernest Rodriquez (not related to Evelyn above) also survived the tsunami. He was in Phuket when the tsunami hit. I did an interview with him on January 4. This is the post taken from my old blog.
There were many people who witnessed the tsunami and live to tell their story. Ernest Rodriguez is one of them. Ernest is teaching at a private school in Bangkok. He was in Phuket to celebrate Christmas when the disaster happened. He talked to me recently about his experience.

"I was at Patong Beach Phuket, Club One Seven, a small gay owned B & B when at 8am I felt a small tremor," said Ernest. According to him, it was only until 10am did the tsunami hit the beach. "There was no warning. The water moved in at a VERY quick pace. It first receded about 3/4 of a mile then returned in about 15 seconds," he explained.

Ernest was having breakfast on the front patio of the B & B. When he saw the wave crossed the street, he ran yelling for his boyfriend and his friend to run up the stairs to the 4th floor of the building. The water, he said, reached the top of the second floor. He saw 3 people- 2 Thais who had gone out to the beach after the water receded to pick up all the fish that were flopping around on the sand and 1 female tourist who had been laying on a beach chair- washed away in the first wave. When I asked him if anyone knew there was an earthquake, he said,"Around 9:30 am, a friend of mine in Bangkok sent me an SMS Text message asking if I had felt an earthquake."

Ernest and his friends survived the tsunami because of his quick thinking. He will forever remember that fateful day after Christmas.


Anonymous said...

the weather in the islands r not so blessed this time too.But compared to the Tsunami,its much of a relief.Heavy rain pours.Many tourists had to stay in doors most of the time.Many events had to b cancelled.Haiz,mayb i shd stay a lil longer to c how the Tsunami thingy go on.Anyway,no worries for the tourism,Thailand tourism is blooming,a hub for Asia.Watch out for the new airport,mate!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully everyone affected can move on with their lives.

Anonymous said...

It was a terrible disaster. Hope it doesn't happen again.

Anonymous said...

May all those who died at the hands of the waves, rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

It will happen again. Mother nature will strike and kill more people.

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