- Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:04 am
We should not lose perspective. Tsunami is a natural phenomenon like a sunset. Nothing is gained by attaching emotiuonal feelings to these disasters. The aid given is largely misguided. Unlike a plague or cyclone, in this case the damage though heavy is confined to the coast.
We found that what the affected people want is infant food (Infants 2 months to a year old). Giving them blankets and adult ready-to-eat food does little but serve as ego trips or a salve to the conscience.
Worse is the ground reality of class distinctions in the affected villages. In one village we went to, the community is sharply divided between the fisherfolk, who belong to one religion, while the other half are farmers belonging to another religion. In the midst of the common calamity the two groups are still carrying on their feuds caring little for the plight of the starving infants.
To avoid beurocratic delays what was attempted was to collect info from the affected on what was needed, get back to assemble the stuff, and return to deliver the items to the actual user.
What was heart warming was the hospitality of the people. Themselves starving, they were willing to share their food with us, saying, 'you have come from a long distance to help us. At least have some coffee or tea'.
Yes. We must help. But let us ensure that the rendered help is relevant.