Tuesday, December 28, 2004


This tsunami business in Asia is nuts. I am becoming obsessed with reading people's eyewitness and survival stories.

I visited a friend of mine who used to live in Thailand a few times, and the last time I was there I stayed on Ko Lanta, one of the islands that got pounded (although not as bad as some other places).

The latest report I read said that hundreds more have perished in Ko Lanta and on Ko Phi Phi (another island near Lanta). I could have been one of the unlucky ones if the earth had timed its rumblings differently. I can picture my lazy ass on the beach with a book, some pineapple and a bad sunburn, not even noticing the wave heading towards me, grabbing hold and turning me into a human torpedo. I would have been doomed for sure. Probably swept into a palm tree or elephant or something like that and ~snap~ goes my neck.

This account on CNN.com is a good one for showing how screwed you are when a tsunami attacks (someone actually said "tsunami attack" on CNN earlier as though it was a crazed animal or an invading army):
PHUKET, Thailand (CNN) -- What do you do when you see a huge wave-wall
coming at you? You run. You run as fast as you can. You think: "This is surreal."

But you keep running ... until the water lifts you off your feet and sweeps you onwards.

It makes no difference whether you can swim or not.

The force carries you forward, and you become a living, breathing projectile. Grab onto something and you may live.

Surf the wave and you have a chance. Hit something solid, and you die.

The place I stayed in was pretty much right on the beach and made of bamboo with a little tile/cement in the bathroom. As a matter of fact, almost every place along the beach was pretty much the same style. I am guessing most of those places don't exist anymore.

These stories don't make things sound very promising:

As an Australian medic I, along with two other medical students who witnessed the tsunami were taken to the Ko Lanta hospital where we have worked since midday. I was involved in 2 unsuccessful resuscitations of drowning victims, and treated over sixty foreign holidaymakers with injuries, mainly multiple fractures, some severe such as skull fractures and suspected spinal fractures ... People are awaiting another wave and most are camping out on hilltops, not that any accommodation at beach level remains.
- Benjamin Gilmour, Thailand
Link to full article (subscription needed)

A lot of people have arrived from the islands over the last few days, though the situation in Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta is fairly dire -- there are reports of significant numbers of Western casualties."
- Tom Carter, of the British emergency consulate in Phuket, Thailand
Link to full article

Hold on my little Ko Lanta friends. Things can only get better.

PS You guys in that tourism booking/internet cafe place in Ban Saladan with the Osama Bin Laden wallpaper on your computer. I hope you, or at the very least, your computers are buried in mud.

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