Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Two years later

Two years ago, on December 26, water rose from the depths of Indian Ocean, off the coast of Sumatra, formed into a wave of destruction, and swept into coastal settlements of several countries. Homes were destroyed, lives lost, and hopes shattered in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Maldives. The most destructive tsunami ever known made its impact even on the eastern coast of Africa. Hundred people have been reported to have died from the wave in Somalia.

Two years after the disaster, the shockwaves have not subsided. There have been massive efforts made to rehabilitate and to provide shelter for the homeless. Several international organisations have been working in the Maldives, as well as other tsunami-affected countries, to bring some order to the chaos. They have partnered with the government in the Maldives to conduct various development and reconstruction programmes.

In all tsunami-affected areas, there are complaints of work progressing slowly. However, the organisations engaged in reconstruction point out that the mammoth task of rebuilding communities from scratch is no easy task. Governments have been accused of corruption and mismanagement of tsunami funds.

There is also the question of how prepared we are for another similar disaster. There are big issues at stake, and the most important thing is restoring the livelihood of affected people, to be prepared for future disasters and ensuring that damage from another disaster is mitigated.

Two years later, it is also important to reflect on why we began this blog. We started it to document what we saw. We were not able to update it regularly because of other engagements. It was never meant to provide lengthy reports and do investigative journalism. However, in islands we visited we encountered tsunami-affected people. Most of them have stories to tell, complaints to make, tears to shed. It is not fair not to tell these stories. So on this second anniversary of the tsunami, we are determined to make more efforts to cover how Maldives is coping with the tsunami. After all, that is what we say our blog is about.

One of the reasons why this blog has not been updated regularly is there are too few people to work on it, and too many other engagements on their part. It is perhaps time to reach out for others who want to tell the story of the tsunami in Maldives, and let their work be published. So if there are any writers or photographers out there wishing to cover how Maldives is coping with the tsunami, then please send an email to us.


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