Back in London and a here is my roundup of my last few days in Sri Lanka:
Colin Powell Visit: The guy got choppered into Galle for a photo shoot. Guarded by bodyguards and US Marines he surrounded himself with empty containers with “US AID” written on them and a whole lot of International Press.
Kofi Annan Visit: The UN estimates five to ten years of rebuilding time for areas hit by the wave.
“LankaWave” will hopefully found a trust as soon as lawyers are fully reopened and will establish itself as a local NGO in the South of Sri Lanka. I will personally further try to raise funds and awareness here in London. Already your money is pouring into the donation account from all ends of the world. Members of our group have identified further projects that need support and rebuilding. I will be updated by family members and other members of LankaWave and will keep barnabys.blogs.com posted with news and progress reports. Klick here for a selection of photos of the Tsunami destruction from the South of Sri Lanka. For photos of the Kathaluwa School please klick here.
After 40000 deaths in Sri Lanka there is the hope voiced by many intellectuals and in the local press that the Tsunami might help the country to end 20 years long civil war. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like this is going to happen as already there has been a dispute between the two parties over Kofi Annan not visiting rebel controlled territories. What seems certain is that the LTTE has been substantially weakened by the wave. What is uncertain is where the rebel leader is and what happened to him – so far there have not been any official statements by him. What is also uncertain is the role of the US Military in Sri Lanka from now on – given that no high ranking US official has visited the country since 1972 and now suddenly the US Marines and Military Advisors are close aides to the Sri Lankan President.
My First impression of being back in Europe: Wow!!! This has received an amazing amount of media attention over here. Hopefully, we will not see a compassion fatigue for helping, donating and rebuilding as soon as the attention of the world media moves on to the elections in Iraq at the end of January. We shall be reminded with a warning that the earthquake of Bam happened also in 2004. Bam – where was that again? In the earthquake-shattered Iranian city even today most of the victims still live in tents and a good number of the promised aid never arrived.
Another focus of the attention of the media, besides the ever reoccuring crash-course on how Tsunamis happen should be why they are so devastating in certain areas and not in others. Areas where previously coral reefs and mangrove forests have been destroyed have suffered heavier devastation than those who have “natural protection”.
…what a relief not to hear constantly helicopters swirling over the place I sleep in.
Ataullah Von Roda