The following are little rays of light and hope which have come out of the most horrendous natural disaster the world has seen in living memory. The Boxing Day earthquake and following tsunamis have so far1 claimed over 150,000 lives. May they rest in peace
Dedicated to the memory of the lost and the survivors of the Boxing Day2 earthquake/tsunami
'Although it's very sad to hear and read about the disaster tsunami has caused, it's very encouraging and heartening to learn that the Muslim, Hindu and Christian organisations in South India are helping their fellow Indians whatever religion/community the victims belong to. Hope the world learns a thing or two from them'. Kalyan, India.Canadian Hero
23 children from an orphanage in India. The priest in charge put them into a boat - and then sailed out to meet the "wave". When it was over someone said to him that he must be a very fine sailor to have done that. His reply was: "I have never sailed a boat before. God spoke to me and told me to do that".
A family of Indian Doctors (mother, father and 3 daughters) decided to stay on their *vacation* and help the victims rather than vacation in the way they had planned.
The fishermen who still have boats are fishing again. Many have gone into debt to do so. They are not waiting for profit to bring in food for their people.
One boat saved a woman who had held on to part of palm tree for 5 days, floating in the ocean.
An 18-month-old baby was found alive inside a boat, 5 days after the disaster.
Two very rare dolphins are stuck inland in a lake with enough water to have survived. They need the ocean.
People are trying to save come up with a plan to move them to safety.
The woman whom was reported to have made Sophie's Choice (my favorite of saddest movies) had her one son whom she had to let go in order to possibly save one of them, the other was returned to her safely days later.
I heard a story of a young girl (approx 6-10 years old) who, because she'd learned about tsunamis at school, saved the lives of approx. 100 people by warning the adults about the sea being sucked out and what it meant. They heeded her advice and ran.
The Swedish mother who ran towards the tsunami to alert her family further away, survived, as did all her family.
Thai prisoners, whom nature had helped escape, are giving themselves up. Some of them are helping to retrieve bodies; for every day worked they are getting two days knocked off their sentences.
The Tamil Tigers have called a halt to hostilities and are working with the (Indian? sorry I'm not a politician); Government to help survivors.
Holidaymakers are volunteering to help - that's people JUST arriving for their holidays, who didn't cancel because they want the Thai people to still have their business.
One of them is a trained Counsellor and she's just going round talking to people.
A man thought he had lost his entire family. Five days later he was reunited with his granddaughter.
A lost, unnamed toddler was identified over the internet by relatives in Sweden and reunited with his father in hospital.
An American who has lived in Phuket for 10 years, commented that he was not surprised when the Thai people did all they could to help the guests at the Hotels. He said that this was in spite of the fact that they had also experienced the traumas of the floods. He ended his interview saying: "The Thai people are an immensely caring and compassionate people".
Global Aid has already pledged one billion American dollars, to help the survivors with daily needs and to begin to rebuild communities.
The elephants that had tourists on their backs just before the tsunami hit ran uphill much to the dismay of the trainers! The people and elephants lived to help clean up. Waiting for heavy equipment, the elephants and trainers have gone to work pulling cars and other large debris from the water.
Dogs in many cases were harrassed and nipped and urged to get out of the house and up the mountain. Dogs dragged children out of the water.
The soldiers that are going to rescue on carriers are much relieved to be knowing they are helping people who want and need them, rather than fighting a war.
A man and his daughter survived in the train when everyone else was killed.
The government of India is well aware of, and begining to start handling, the emotional trauma. They and other organizations are preparing to aid the human spirit.
In the Russian town of Beslan, where 330 people - half of them children - were killed in a school hostage drama in September, families announced they would donate £18,000 to the tsunami victims.
Two young men vacationing in Thailand. Parents of one got an e-mail on the evening of the 26th, saying they were both safe. Apparently their routine was to excercise on the beach every morning. That morning they had slept late and were further inland when the waves hit. One of their mothers said "I don't know what Guardian Angel kept them off the beach..." The two friends are staying to help with the massive clean-up operation.
A pregnant Indonesian mother of four has thanked a "miracle" for saving her life in the chaos of the tsunami.
Trapped with one of her sons in a mosque in Banda Aceh, Haiwati, 38, felt she was at the point of death when a large can washed through a window. She got on top of the can to get above the water, saving herself, her son and her unborn child.
"I had no energy left. I just looked at it. Then I held on to it, with my son," she said. "I guess yes, that was a miracle."
Sylvia Lucas, 11, from Sri Lanka, was playing on the beach in the village of Pasikudha, on the island's east coast, when she was swept away by the wave. Clinging to a log, she cried out for hours to the rescue helicopters that were flying above. She saw others on either side of her rescued from the water but her size meant it was difficult for the pilots to spot her. Meanwhile, she saw what she described as "large fish" circling beneath her. After frantic waving, she was eventually spotted by a helicopter, which airlifted her to safety. Shrugging off the ordeal, she said: "I was confident I would be saved. I am always playing on the beach and in the water, so staying in the sea didn't really scare me."
A 20-day-old baby was found alive, floating on a mattress in her parents' damaged restaurant in northern Malaysia after the region was slammed by tidal waves. S Tulasi was sleeping in a room at the restaurant when the huge waves struck on Sunday in the holiday resort of Penang.
An elephant owner giving rides to tourists on the beach got worried when his elephant started bellowing and acting strangely. He had one little girl on board and another walking beside him. He ordered the elephant to pick up the other little girl and both children were saved. The elephant stood its ground against the waves, saving its owner too. The children's mother found them later and was very grateful to the elephant and its owner.
A 23 year old Sumatran woman was spotted (alive, and picked up) by a Malaysian tuna ship 5 days after being washed out to sea. She had clung to a sago palm tree and subsisted on the tree's bark and fruit.
I heard about the little baby that was found floating down a river, asleep, on a mattress. Our pastor's wife told me about it at church on Sunday. She asked, 'What story does that remind you of?' All I could say was, 'Hallelujah, praise be to God.'
A World Responds To The Tragedy
The accessibility of the global age we now live in, has brought the tragedy into the safety of our own living rooms, thousands of miles away. Through the medium of television, satellite and cable channels, home videos and the internet, the world has shrunk. These suffering survivors don't seem to be thousands of miles away, on another continent. They are our neighbours. We feel their loss, their pain. We want to help. Since Boxing Day, the breaking news, watching the death toll rising by the hour; passing days and stories of starving, thirsty people, some cut off from civilization, have moved the world's compassionate people to act.
A new charity was formed within days to bring together the donations rolling in for separate charities. The Disasters Emergency Committee takes pledges by credit card and cash to fund all the various aid agencies helping out in the worst-affected areas. You can also post cheques to:
DEC Tsunami Earthquake Appeal,
London, EC3A 3AA.
Alternatively, UK contributors can donate £1.50 via their mobile phones: Text DONATE to 83321. All money is donated to the DEC and no charges are taken or VAT applied.
It would be unfair to list the largest donators when there are old people sending in their pensions, children donating their pocket money, people selling unwanted Christmas gifts on internet auction sites or donating them to charity shops, or just giving a few hours of their time to their local Oxfam shop.
What all the charities are saying though, is that the giving is 'phenomenal' and 'unprecedented'.
BBC links: Talking Point. Your experiences of the Asian disaster.
Did the animals have a quake warning?Do animals sense danger?
Elephants save tourists.
What are your views on this?
Compiled by Galaxy Babe