In wake of tsunami, focus now on survivors
December 28, 2004
Scientists are saying the magnitude-9 quake that hit Indonesia over the weekend may have temporarily slowed the Earth’s rotation for a brief moment. It will be weeks before they know for sure.
But for those who have begun the process of burying their children in mass graves or who are still combing the beaches searching for lost loved ones, it must seem as if the Earth has stopped spinning altogether.
We cannot begin to imagine the devastation of losing one’s home, family, livelihood, community and everything else – literally swallowed up by the sea.
The death toll has climbed to above 58,000 – roughly the population of Carson City – in 11 countries, at latest count. At least one-third and maybe up to a half of them are children. What that means for the future, we can’t be sure.
For now, it means overwhelming grief and sorrow. And a lot of questions.
First and foremost: Why?
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Although American scientists knew the tsunami was coming after the quake hit, there was no easy way to notify Asian officials.
The international system of monitoring stations that spans the coast of the Pacific Ocean does not include the Indian Ocean.
The technology exists; it just hasn’t been used there. It could be because it’s too expensive.
However, the cost of not installing it has proved to be much greater, with the price paid in human lives.
From this tragedy, we hope a determination will rise up to create a warning system that will perhaps save lives in the future.
And may we each find our own way, whether through prayer or a monetary donation, to help the victims survive this harrowing time.
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