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Tsunami Disaster Brings Generosity

DW-WORLD readers, including eyewitnesses, sent their observations on the Asian tsunami disaster that devastated Indian Ocean countries on Sunday.

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DW readers lament the lack of an early warning system in South Asia


The following comments reflect a cross-section of the views of our readers. If you would like to have your say, please click on our feedback button below. Not all reader comments will be published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.


Eyewitnesses comment

We were on the Tablamu Golf course, close to Khao Lak, Thailand when the waves came. Our lady caddies got us running to the next half-way house where we held on the steel beams. Our hotel Mukdara Beach Resort in Khao Lak was destroyed, and we stood quite confused on the streets after spending the night up on the hills. Then a pick-up van stopped, our caddies from the day before recognized us. They took us to their home, gave us food, let us shower, gave me clean clothes, even bought my husband new clothes and shoes as theirs didn't fit him. They took us to Phang Nga Deputy Governor's station, where we were given 500 bahts to go to Phuket Town. Our caddies took us to the bus station, paid for the tickets and insisted on us taking another 2000 bahts cash! More than what they earn in a month! They didn't even ask for our names or address. At the Phuket Town hall there were numerous muti-lingual translators, free overseas calls and free Internet, lots of food, water and first aid. Our caddies and other Thai people helped us with unbelievable generosity and hospitality, although they had so little themselves! We're in their debt and we'll definitely go back and do what we can for this wonderful people. Thank you so much Ali, Orrewan, Nan and your family! -- Susi Ma

I flew out to Colombo on Sunday, Dec. 26 for a two week holiday with my British friend who is a resident there. We were due to spend the first week in a yoga retreat between Gaulle and Hikkaduwa. On my way to Heathrow I expected Sri Lanka Airways to have cancelled all its flights after I saw Sky News that morning, but they hadn't so I assumed it wasn't all that bad out there. The death toll when I left was 1,200 in Asia. By the time I landed in Colombo I think the death toll had gone up to 10,000 or more. It was a very tense flight there and a very tense moment meeting my friend at the airport. We were picked up by locals who my friend already knew and were driven up to Kandi which is inland and safe. We have spent the last few days in a hotel there, but of course most of the holidaymakers have also made their way there so it was difficult to get a room in a hotel. It seems there are quite a lot of westerners who decided not to go home and to seek refuge on higher ground inland. Life in Kandi still goes on almost as if nothing has happened and completely unaffected. The only change is that all locals and us tourists spend most of our time glued to Sky News in the bars or hotels. It's a very somber mood here but I'm planning on staying because I feel my friend could do with the company at this time and it's very calm up here in the hills. -- Amanda Glover

On relief aid to the countries affected

We in Australia have pledged $35,000,000 and we have planes constantly flying in and out of the area. I admit that Australia is a wealthy country, but Germany is a wealthy country as well. I would expect a better financial response from your country than $2.7 million. Please, the world needs our help and I feel that Germany should dig a little deeper and give for the sake of humanity. -- Gwyllym Suter

I think the world is just starting to respond. A rough estimate of $100 million worldwide is pledged and help is moving. As more needs are brought into focus, more help from all over the world will come. -- John Lynch

Though it can be fair enough to criticize the government and citizens of my United States for hard headedness and that our relief can be at times proportioned too strongly along lines drawn by political agenda, there is no question who will contribute most greatly to this relief effort. Can it be enough? Impossible. The suffering is monumental, the road is long and there was not enough sustenance in much of this region before this disaster. Nevertheless we will try, and the people of the Indian Ocean rim will learn what Berliners learned in 1948: that Americans will drop everything and come running when needed, even to a place in which we might otherwise be personae non grata. -- Don Shogren, Wisconsin, USA

The contributions from the German government and people is extremely disappointing considering it is the third largest economy in the world. Also, its citizens have a major presence in Sri Lanka, India and the other affected areas. Come on, Germany -- you can do much better! -- Ken Brookhouse

I think that the US has been absolutely horrible to everyone over there. Yet, I'll bet they prefer that the US not get involved for fear of them stomping all over everyone. In contrast, nations like Kenya have been exemplary in sending doctors and aid over immediately. Nobody had to create committees there to discuss the "situation" for six months before sending their planes over. Why couldn't the US be more like that? I'll bet the US soldiers stationed in Iraq would have much preferred to have been sent to Sri Lanka and Thailand, etc. to help set up refugee camps and distribute food and water purification tablets than fight people whose only crime is wanting the US to get out of their country (Iraq) and leave them alone! -- Lea-Marie Sky, USA

Schröder is right on track. His humanitarian approach to debt relief, both pre- and post-tsunami, is commendable. Unlike our businessman president, Bush, Mr Schröder sees himself as a world citizen. Congratulations, Germany. -- Nina


Go to the next page to read comments on the need for early warning systems.



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