The Tsunami Earthquake

The tsunami earthquake and disaster at the end of Boxing Day showed that in times of real crisis the community of nations has the capacity to work closely together and global conflict and disagreements can be put to one side.

The plight of so many people in the Asian countries has been very well recorded. Meanwhile the loss of so many others from every corner of the globe in the area has meant that the media coverage and the money raised by individuals, charities and governments worldwide have been without precedent.

As the true horror of events unfolded in the days after the tsunami struck it was noticeable that many countries, not previously noted for their financial and other help in such emergencies, felt they had a role to play in the relief effort.

Something else which was noticeable was the way that India declined any financial help showing itself to be a country able to handle its own emergencies with its own revenues. To me this was a sign of India’s maturity and growth – a sign that far from being considered as part of the developing world the nation rightly recognises the fully fledged economic powerhouse that it is becoming.

The hardest hit country in the disaster, Indonesia, clearly is not as fully developed economically as India despite the fact that Indonesia is now a major global oil producer. Huge sums of money have been pledged from countries around the world and it augurs well for our global community that such considerations can be given in natural disasters.

In watching the international rescue efforts and the promises of funds from governments and charity groups around the world nothing was made of the chosen religion of the nations where so many people died and so many more left homeless. My view from thousands of miles away here in the UK was that many more people and governments were touched by the size of the disaster than any calamitous element previously. In the midst of such carnage and human tragedy, this was surely a positive sign for the future.

There were some religious fanatics who claimed that it was the will of God to remove the evil hedonistic tourists from the West but that poisoned and embittered judgement will surely not have been well received amongst the fisher folk of Sir Lanka, Aceh, Thailand and the Maldives.

Much is being done to make the previous tourist resorts open to business again. I hope many people will show their support for the affected countries by returning soon on holiday to places where they have been before because that is surely the best way to help rebuild the destroyed economies.

Whatever the UN has done or not done in this disaster, the important consideration to be taken from the terrible loss of life last month is the way that so many people from around the world without worrying about the religion, the race, the colour or the form of government of those affected rose up as one to help. I am certain that many people, if not most, could not have told you where the Maldives, Indonesia and also Sri Lanka were on the world map before the earthquake and the tsunami but it did not matter when the pictures started to come in.

It shamed the religious fundamentalists and the isolationists in the world but provided the rest of us with, what I believe, will be an understanding that there is truly such a thing as a growing global community. May that be the monument to this disaster.