Friday, December 26, 2014

Indian Ocean Tsunami

     Ten years ago today the tsunami in the Indian Ocean took place. The gigantic wave brought about horrific instant destruction of people and coastal areas. There was a horrible loss of life and property. It was a very difficult thing to understand.

    At first very little information came out as communication lines were down and the infrastructure and people were in complete disarray. Then for days and days we saw and heard about the unbelievable destruction.

    My daughter happened to be in Thailand at the time. She had just landed about ten hours before the earthquake and tidal wave. She was a high school teacher and the school she taught in had a student trip to Thailand each year. The school wanted her to take over the organization of the trip. She agreed as long as she could go to Thailand before taking students. The school board sent her during the Christmas break The previous trip leader took her to Thailand to show her the area. Three other staff members went along on their own dime.

    Now I woke in the morning to hear the news that the earthquake and tidal wave had happened. As I said before news was very limited. I knew that she was in the interior but I wasn't sure of what the earthquake had done. I was looking after her dog so I went to her place and took the dog for a morning walk and then some play. I fed the dog and then went to look at my email. To my utter amazement and relief there was an email from her saying that she was okay. For two terrifying hours I was in that time of not knowing what the situation was. I will never forget that experience.

    My daughter had landed in Chang Mai and toured there for  couple of days and then was going to Phuket which was a very well known resort area. They had originally planed to go to Phuket first but changed the itinerary. There was massive destruction at Phuket because of it's location.

   Now their tour route was changed again. They did go to Phuket for a short time but she said she couldn't get away fast enough as there were massive piles of ruble and she knew there were many bodies in the rubble.

   Now my daughter has a tremendous sense of humor. When she came back she told us that the first morning she was there they had organized a day trip and a vehicle was waiting to pick them up. She went to the bathroom before leaving. While in the bathroom the earthquake occurred. She had never experienced an earthquake before. She thought she must be suffering from severe jet lag and the she was shaking and doors were rattling.. When she came out of the bath room she was surprised to be told that there had just been a major earthquake. 

   Once they came back from Thailand there as major discussion of wisdom school trips. Overseas trips were sharply curtailed.The trip she was supposed to do was cancelled and never run again.

   The events of the tidal wave have dimmed in our memory. This tenth anniversary has caused us to remember the loss of life and suffering at that time and that it is still going on today.

42 comments:

  1. My only personal recollection of this disaster was two days later as we gathered for an extended family Christmas on my Mother's birthday, we were talking about the death toll, which was already well above 100,000.

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    1. It was definitely an event that we will remember.

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  2. i can imagine the pain of so many families who did not know what happened to their loved ones. such tragedy.

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    1. Tragedy is one of the better words to describe this event.

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  3. Hopefully they are better prepared now...thank goodness your daughter changed her travel plans...it was a horrific disaster:(

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    1. Warning systems have been put in but it's still not fool proof.

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  4. That was lucky for your family.
    It doesn't seem ten years ago. Where does time go?

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    1. We worried for a short time.There was definitely luck involved

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  5. Hey There,

    I notice that you are still very active on your blog. Nice to see your last posts ;-)
    As you might have noticed, I'm not that active on my blog anymore. I still have two blogspot pages for my photos and I am very active on my Google Plus page. I can tell you that Google Plus is a nice way to meet other photographers and bloggers. Do you know that you can show your new messages of your blogspot page automatically on Google Plus?

    I am looking forward to welcoming you on my page: https://plus.google.com/+GertJanHermus/posts

    Greetings from the Netherlands! ;-)
    Gert Jan

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  6. I have been in a few tremors. those used to it laughed at my panic.

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    1. I have never experienced a tremor.

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  7. I was reading my news on the internet last night and read the story of the young girl that lived on that beach. She was 10 yrs old and lost her parents and other family. The only thing she found was her Christmas Dress, which was all she had to wear. Her story was very sad at the beginning but this little girl pulled her life together with the help of her Aunti, a foster family and "You should see her now". You have probably already read about her Red, but if not, just look for "The girl in the Christmas Dress". To think that so rapidly, so many lives lost and so many with the courage to pick up their damaged lives and help others. A very tragic day indeed.

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    1. I wasn't aware of this story. I better look at it.

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  8. I remember the disaster very well. There were also many dutch people involved because it is a popular holliday destination. I can imagine your fear for your daughter being there. Fortunately she was safe.

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    1. There were many tragedies in this one.

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  9. Oh Red as a parent I can only imagine how frightening that was for you and your wife in not knowing what was going on. I think your daughters sense of humour is what is needed to get through things like that. This is something that will stay with people forever. I am happy your daughter was OK. B

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    1. I suppose no matter how old we are or how old our kids are , we still worry.

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  10. A quarter of a million people were eventually realized to be gone from that tsunami. I remember it so well and grieved for the massive loss of life. Glad your daughter was spared, Red.

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    1. There were so many missing people that the horror went on and on. Many were never found.

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  11. Sad that trips have been limited because we cannot prevent major earth shaking events. Major weather events. Major political events. We must be more moderate in our reaction to these. I had been through something similar with one of my children, so can truly empathize with your feelings during that time.

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    1. Trips are extremely valuable but when things go wrong and the law suits start flying, it gets expensive. I took many field trips for out door Ed.

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  12. You must have been so fearful! I get the same feeling. When they shot in the Parliament buildings, and locked the city down, there were rumours everywhere.

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    1. Yes , the Ottawa shooting was alarming. I feel for Cirillo's family. My son was in the reserves for 5 years.

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  13. I remember visiting family after Christmas and the news of the tsunami being on everyone's thoughts and all over the television.

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    1. You're right. It was wall to wall news. It was frustrating as there was so much we didn't know.

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  14. I can only imagine your initial terror and then utter relief and knowing your daughter's whereabouts. That time was filled with such horrible stores for so many. Heart wrenching at its worst.

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    1. Your first sentence describes exactly our feelings.

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  15. How frightening those couple hours must have been! I had a similar situation when the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed and I knew my daughter was on the road but not exactly where.

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  16. The "tsunami" of then has been again big news here again.
    Many of the victims were never found. I knew some Aussies who were there - some survived, some disappeared.
    I had many wonderful holidays in Thailand - a wonderful country but never went to Phuket.
    Phuket has been rebuilt and is again a striving tourist mecca - mainly for the younger brigade.
    Very sad indeed - your daughter was very lucky with a simple last minute it appears, change of plans.
    Colin
    PS: Still raining here in Brisbane and thankfully in areas that are badly in need of rain to alleviate the drought conditions - now for good follow up summer (monsoonal) rains. That would be the perfect New Year's gift.

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    1. Your location has much more meaning in this event.

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  17. My gosh...what a terrible time that was. I can just imagine how terrified you were as you waited to find out about your daughter. Thank goodness it all turned out alright. But how awful at the suffering other families went through.

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    1. We had to wait for two hours. For others they waited and there was no answer.

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  18. It was a terrible tragedy. Last year when we were in Thailand on those beaches I couldn't help thinking about all those lost people. Dreadful.

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    1. That was my daughter's feelings when she visited Phuket. they were only there for a few hours as plans were to take students there later.

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  19. It was a horrific tragedy. I can only imagine your fear in those two hours before you heard from your daughter. Glad she was okay.

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  20. Laurie's brother was living in Phuket with his fiance and recently moved to Bangkok, just in the nick of time.
    That was a very scary episode.

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  21. Wow, that's scary Red. I'm so glad your daughter changed her travel plans and was okay... that not knowing, that's so hard to endure. A sad sad time for Thailand.

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  22. I too had a friend (with whom I have just spent Christmas Day) who was on the Island where the most damage occurred at the time of the tsunami. She escaped without seeing the major destruction. It was a scary time for those who survived but an unthinkable time for those who lived in the path of the destructive force.

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  23. Red's daughter here; never keep up enough on this blog site! Can't believe that was 10 years ago. I still have very vivid memories of how nutty things got in a hurry thanks to that. We were so lucky to be up north and away from the worst of it all at the time. My colleague's son was even luckier; he was a scuba instructor and the team was getting ready to take some tourists out for the morning. The guests were running late. Nobody in the area they were in really realized what was happening until the wall of water was coming at them. Andrew managed to run from the beach up into higher ground in the jungle, and saved a small boy he scooped up and carried in the process. The beach was ruined. It was all so surreal at the time. A very unforgettable trip for me in many ways. Humor always helps - I truly did think I was sick from jet-lag when the bathroom wobbled and swooshed! Emailed home as soon as possible b/c I knew it would be scary for my parents and friends hearing news and wondering where I fit into it all.

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  24. I can only imagine how worried you were for those two hours! We were in Sri Lanka just over a year after the tsunami and saw much of the devastation for ourselves. People were still living in blue UN tents! :(

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  25. Oh gracious! I can just imagine your terror and fear for your daughter. My mother's family is in Sendai and we didn't know for a couple of days that they were OK. Their house had terrible cracks in it, but it could eventually be repaired. When we went to see them, we saw the devastation and it was incomprehensible. There was debris as far as the eye could see.

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  26. Oh my goodness, Red. I couldn't read this fast enough to find out if your daughter was all right. I'm so glad your story had a happy ending.
    When my husband was traveling for work several years ago he went to Taiwan. There was a really big earthquake while he was there and I couldn't get any information of any kind for hours and hours.
    Your post reminded me of that feeling of helplessness.

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