Waves of Sorrow
Aldo Tong, H4B
Posted Wednesday, 09-Mar-2005 4:48 PM
In the recent large-scale earthquake occurring at the bottom of the ocean last December 26, 2004, a tsunami caused more than two hundred and seventy thousand lives to be lost and more missing in Southern Asian countries. The hardest hit were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand. In these places where many American and European tourists regularly visit, nothing of that sort has ever occurred for such a long time. So many lives were lost and wasted simply because no one expected a tsunami to occur and so everybody was surprised when it actually happened. This single event led the whole world to shock and sorrow. Many people are left to think on how so many people could die so fast.
When the tsunami was approaching the beaches, many people were still either in the beach or near it. As it arrived the shores, people did not expect it to be a tsunami because they did not know how tsunamis go about. After the first big wave hit the shores, people went back to the beaches thinking that it was all over. This resulted to the killing of many more lives. Had people been aware of how tsunamis went about, thousands of lives could have been saved. Two weeks after the disaster, a story came out in the Philippine Star on how a ten-year old boy saved hundreds of lives. The boy had actually warned a grown up that, after the first wave, more big waves would hit the beach. Luckily, the grown up was able to warn the whole town thus, saving everybody in the community. The boy learned what happens when a tsunami occurs in school after his teacher had told them about it. Due to this knowledge, many lives were saved. If people knew that more big waves would hit the shores after the first one, they would have stayed out of the beaches.
How come a little boy was aware on how tsunamis work and the grown ups were not? Probably, the lack of warning systems might have paid its price. If the people were warned earlier on that a tsunami was going to hit the shores, they would have known how tsunamis go about and would stay away from the beaches. In places like Phuket, Banda Aceh and the other tourist spots, disasters like typhoons were not expected because they were very rare. This made people think that they were pretty much safe from disaster and so, did not bother to set up warning systems. An article from the Asian Wall Street Journal indicates that a meteorologist from Thailand warned in 1998 that a tsunami was going to occur soon. His announcement scared the tourists and weakened the tourism in Thailand. Upset that the meteorologist named Smith Dharmasoroja made false predictions, the Thai officials made him retire and did not even bother to set up warning systems. After the tsunami did occur some six years after, they now all seek the help of that same meteorologist to lead the setting up of warning systems. Again, had there been sufficient warning systems, people would have been aware on how tsunamis can destroy lives.
Prompting many actions around the world to be taken, this disaster will go down in the history books as one of the biggest disasters in the world. People all over the world, now filled with sorrow and regret, join hands in giving aid to the disaster-ridden countries. For certain reasons, citizens of many nations, especially those affected by this disaster, are filled with regret on the things that should have been done and the things that should have been responded to. Now, the only actions the world can do are to help the victims, pray for the victims, be ready for such disasters and hope that disasters as large as this will never have to happen again.
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