Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami - SMS blog from Sri Lanka

The devastation is just incredible. I thought it was impossible for a few waves to create so much damage, but once again I've been shown to be incorrect in my assumptions. As part of my job I have access to a lot of video footage, much of it that doesn't get shown. While it's fair to say that you've no doubt seen the "best bits" on your TV, it's the extended story of people with cameras that is just fascinating and somewhat scary.

An interesting upshot of all this is a collaborative weblog, ChiensSansFrontiers, another member of the Blogger family. One of the members of this weblog has been SMS'ing reports from on the ground in Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit areas. Given the lack of available reporting is some areas it's good to see someone with inside knowledge of the area able to get around and gather knowledge with an almost instantaneous ability to get it published.

I'm standing on the Galle road in Aluthgama and looking at 5 ton trawlers tossed onto the road. Scary shit.
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...
----- 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. Go..
----- with gear to get him tommorrow morning. He sounded disturbed. Guess grave digging does that to you.

[11 buses carrying passengers missing. An estimated 2.5 million people displaced.]
[Government agent and LTTE working together in jaffna. Health supplies are grossly inadequate. Disease needs to be prevented. Water is contaminated by dead bodie]..
[..bodies says tamil national alliance parliamentarian gajan ponnambalam.]

Stay away from the Galle road.
Continous looting and violence reproted in Moratuwa.

UNICEF airlifting goods to Jaffna in a few hours. But they're handing it over to the government offices there, and not distributing it themselves. Bad idea, says I. It might never get to the people who need it. (5.38 am)

Priorities as of this morning - Disposing of bodies, healthcare for survivors, clean drinking water. But all you people doing aid work, keep sending all the food and clothes too. (5.44 am)

Leaving Anuradhapura now. Heading onto LTTE areas now. Losing signal in about an hour. (6.06 am)

Lanka official figures - over 21,000 dead in Sri Lanka. (6.49 am)

7100 bodies buried in 4 graves in the South. 7600 alone buried in a single grave in Sammanthurai in the Amparai district, Eastern Province. (6.54 am)

The government continues to claim it is 'taking steps' to provide relief. But nothing is getting to the people who need it. It is the people who are taking food, water, medicines and clothes who are are making a difference. So those of you doing it, keep at it! It's helping more than you will ever know. (7.15 am)

Losing network signal in a few minutes. Don't know time of return. Will message. Keep the good work going. Change the world. (7.17 am)

Last message from the Omantai checkpoint. There are unconfirmed reports of the LTTE 'taking over' relief convoys to their areas. (7.56 am)

The LTTE has been taking the aid and claiming to distribute. No news beyond that. (8.06 am)

ABC News - Sri Lanka buries its dead in mass graves
ABC News - Concerns raised over speed of tsunami aid

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