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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sri Lankan Tsunami: 10 years later - Page 3

Written by Nick Marnell
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Help did arrive from around the world. The response included both government aid and international NGOs; Kumara and Chaminda spoke fondly of the Italian response. "They were the first ones here," said Kumara.

 

In two weeks, all of the Galle roads were cleared. Which prompted Kumara to bring up a situation that he could not come to grips with.

 

"I watched the Hurricane Katrina story on TV," he said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. How long the water remained on those streets. We don't have the money that you do, but we took care of our problem quickly. We are helpful to one another."

 

He shook his head as he added, "People don't think about other people."

 

 

I felt as stunned as the priest in "Amadeus" who listened to Salieri's confession. A little guilty, too. I wondered if a devastating earthquake hits in the Bay Area, what types of human interaction would occur? Would people be helpful to one another - "forget about things and think about people?"  Would efforts be thwarted by authority - the politicians and unions and lawyers? Would responders have the courage to ignore authority if red tape impeded rescue efforts - "we didn't need them; they had nothing that they could do for us anyway."

 

As I headed back to the golden beach lapped by the turquoise water, one thing I felt pretty sure about: if the "Big One" does hit, the Galle firefighters would muster everything in their power to help the westerners in distress.

 

And they would not wait for permission.

 

©Nick Marnell

 

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Monday, 30 June 2014

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