Tuesday, December 28, 2004


I was just going to update my previous post titled "Perspective", but I think a tragedy of this scale warrants as many posts here and elsewhere as necessary. The loss of life is catastrophic. The death toll has risen above 40,000 44,000 55,000 and is estimated to keep climbing well past 60,000 sharply as more remote places are finally reached. The ultimate toll may never be known, but the greater tragedy may still be to come as lack of proper medical care, basic sanitation, clean water, and a means to handle the volume of the dead (both human and animal) starts to spread diseases. This disaster may yet be declared the worst in modern history...it has already been declared the most costly.

Ann Althouse posts eloquently on this subject (as she so frequently does in her blog) as she discusses today's New York Times coverage.

Beyond the loss of life, we must not forget that millions (perhaps even tens of millions) more across the devastated region are without a home. The fortunate have found shelter, but looting has already begun as people begin to starve.

Sri Lanka faces even graver dangers as a result of the tsunami. Thirty years of civil war has left the country filled with landmines and minefields, which the flooding brought by the tsunami has made even more hazardous than before. The Hindustan Times reports:
Landmines left from years of civil war will likely endanger survivors and rescuers after a devastating tsunami hit Sri Lanka and other Asian states, UNICEF said.

"Mines were floated by the floods and washed out of known mine fields, so now we don't know where they are, and the warning signs on mined areas have been swept away or destroyed," UNICEF's Ted Chaiban said in a statement released at UN headquarters in New York.

"The greatest danger to civilians will come, when they begin to return to their homes, not knowing where the mines are," Chaiban added.

In the time I took writing this post, the death toll rose 11,000 from online sources.