Our experience at ground zero â€“ Sri Lankaâ€™s Tsunami
We werenâ€™t fully prepared to accept what our eyes beheld as we approached the tsunami zone in Southern Sri Lanka. Three months later, the remaining ruin appears as much as it did on CNN in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami. Although much of the debris has been cleared & the roads more accessible, thereâ€™s a lot left to do.
Although victims still lie in relief tents supplied by the big name NGOâ€™s & fresh water stations are positioned every Â¼ mile, the rebuilding phase has begun! Sri Lankaâ€™s government has accomplished a lot in supplying victims with their immediate needs & they have dispelled the fear of waterborne disease. Many kit homes are already under construction & the government hopes to have victims adequately housed before the Monsoon season arrives.
With trepidation, we approached the villages, careful not to impede on the victims small space of serenity they collectively share. One man built a makeshift house 40 feet above in a coconut tree, fearing the tsunamiâ€™s return. They bombarded us with harrowing tales of a crashing 10-foot wave that ravaged their lives, taking their children, few belongings, & homes of up to a Â¼ mile inland. Many of them lack sleep at night, fearing that the roaring waves within earshot will ravage their villages once again. We gazed at them, teary-eyed & sorrowful.
We found that some fisher folk have been given a fresh new start by various organizations including a Belgian Army Unit whom we befriended. Similarly, within the coming weeks, LifeNets will supply several affected fishing families a vessel, in order to restore their livelihood & feed their children. We have identified & personally met fishermen who are simply longing for such a rebirth. It is our turn to extend our hearts & hands in aid & enable these men to charge back out to sea â€“ what a privilege!