For quite a lot of people, boxing day is a day to relax, spend time with family, or start writing your new years resolutions (or your two week resolutions). For others, it is a time of significant horror, remembering the carnage and devastation that so profoundly affected many peoples lives. It has taken many years to restore what was lost, and many more to deal with the emotions and grief such an event creates, yet 10 years on from the 2004 boxing say tsunami, we should quietly reflect on those that were lost, and those that lost.
Its effects are clearly seen all over the eastern coast of Thailand; memorials, tsunami evacuation routes, information, and early warning systems. Signs, such as the one above, can be seen unobtrusively hanging in quiet places, striking out amongst the calm serenity of the surroundings. It is seen in the quietly determined rebuilding of towns and villages, the subtle reminders while the rest of the world forgets. When not reminded, it is easy to forget that a 9.1 magnitude earthquake killed roughly 230,000 people in fourteen different countries, and so affected the psyche of the world that $14 billion was donated in humanitarian aid. It is easy to forget, unless you were there.
In Ko Phi Phi, approximately 70% of the buildings on the island had been destroyed. By the end of July 2005, an estimated 850 bodies had been recovered, and an estimated 1,200 people were still missing. Today, it is a thriving tourist hub of activity, rebuilt and reborn.
Indonesia, 130,736 confirmed deaths. Sri Lanka, 35,322 confirmed deaths. India, 12,405. The list goes on. People missing: more. People displaced: even more. It is a running figure of human loss and destruction. But 10 years on, the places have been re-built, lives go on, and safe guards put in place. Just take a little moment out of your day, to remember the loss. The lives that were changed or lost. Remember there survival, and courage. Give compassion. After all, this holiday is the season of giving.
See you all tomorrow,