“Chaos” is the operative word

Well, less than 24 hours on the ground over here, and I’m already getting a sense of the chaos that the relief efforts all over Sri Lanka are. Met a few people at the guest house I’m at, who have been both across to the east coast, as well as down south towards Galle and beyond.

Apparantly down south, rebuilding is already well under way, as it is a big tourist area hence it’s worth investment from the government in funds and personell. A little like Phuket in Thailand I guess, within a few months most of the areas will be nice and sanitory again for the tourists.

Over on the east coast it’s a little different. They still have rubble and debri to remove, which is basically just happening with the help of many a general volunteer who is simply ready to work their arse off. Unfortunately the locals seem hesitant to help, and have not really organised anything very well. Firstly there appears (from my discussions with these other volunteers, so no first hand knowledge to confirm yet) to be an attitude that ”if it didn’t happen to me, I’m not going to help out”. Then there’s another emotion which is a little darker which the following story indicates…

A week or so ago, there was another tremor near Indonesia, and the rumour went around over on the east coast that another tsunami would hit within three hours. Well, apparantly hundreds of people, the ones who had lost everything – their home, family…etc – went down to the beach to just sit and wait, thinking that they may as well join their family members in the afterlife…

So hard to comprehend what that sort of feeling must be like, to be feeling there is just nothing to live for… From the sounds of this I’ll probably be heading over that side rather than down south. Apart from these more accurate first person updates I’m getting, I was also not met at the airport by the organisation I had arranged to work with, and can not get through on their numbers. I’ll give it a day or so, but I’m not going to sit here doing nothing for too long. Besides, after hearing these first hand stories, I’m begining to think that maybe I’ll be of more use where the government and large AID agencies are not.

Another couple of guys from the guest house are heading right up north, into the Tamil area, to help erect shelters in a relief camp up there. That’s another option I’m considering…

Anyway, enough web stuff, time to make some calls and sort something out ASAP.

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