Tsunami Help Home   Enquiry   Missing Persons   News Updates   Help Needed   Help Offered  

Wednesday 17 August 2005

Progress

"I live for each day.." says Chandrika.. A woman in Hambantota who lost everything to the tsunami.. Her husband.. her children.. her mother.. her house.. everything.. She lives in a camp put up by Sewalanka. She broke down i asked her to recall what happened that fateful day.. She sleeps with pieces of her daughters' clothes, she found them at the site of the house.. it was all that was left.. she recently found photographs of her wedding which were partially destroyed stuck in a tree.. with no friends and no companions she struggles by each day by selling frozen drink packets to little kids at 1 rupee each.. She still hasn't received any help from the government..

Tony, as he is known to his friends, a muslim who had 3 children, a wife and all-in-all a happy ever after.. He worked in Saudi for a long time to earn to give his children a good education and a good life.. He was in the middle east on the 26th of December.. He got the news that his wife and children were missing and rushed back here but alas, all was lost.. He still walks around with a briefcase in which he carries all the documents of his children.. hoping someday to find them as their bodies were never found.. he recently had a dream that his youngest daughter had called to him to come and look for her near Colombo so he took the next bus to Colombo to look for her.. He says he needs to go abroad to get on with his life because everytime he sees a little girl he is reminded of his daughter.. The government hasn't given him any aid either..

I went to Hambantota a month ago and again this week again to check the progress.. I've been in Hambantota for the past 3 days and witnessed how people are being neglected and how the government isn't doing anything to help them.. there's alot of negativity towards the government at this very moment.. they gave them food stamps but most of the aid has been given by NGO's and as private donations.. I just want to raise the question of "where's all the money that was given to the government..???" "why is everything so stagnant...??" Just a plea to everybody to do whatever they can.. especially the governmnt.. all is not well...

And also this is a thank you to all that have done what they can.. Keep up the good work..!

A lady named Petronella Ballard whose been living in Sri Lanka for the past 31 years has joined with many interesting people to begin a project called SwimLanka. It's a project which teaches children to swim with the intention of helping them get over their fear of the sea and also to help them be prepared if any other disaster related to water happens.. Julian Bolling, a famous swimmer who is an asset to the country has trained youth in certain areas to coach the kids.. I went to Tangalle to see what it's like, just to get an idea of what it was like and was touched to see how much the kids enjoyed it and how much enthusiasm was extended to the programme by people from all over the world.. it was beautiful.. it's so wonderful to see the way the children laugh and the way the team works.. Thanks so much..

That's all for now.. will keep you updated.. Let's do something people!!


Keep it blogged...
4 Comments Post a Comment
Blogger Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) said :

Thanks for the update heretic, we sure should start getting the wheels rolling again. Any pointers, suggestions as to what we as freelance journalists/bloggers could do to better the situation?

cheers!
Strav.

Thu Aug 18, 01:22:00 AM IST  
Anonymous Paul Skala said :

Who helps fast, helps twice as much. Your blog is very useful for all people touched with this horrible disaster

Sun Aug 21, 10:21:00 PM IST  
Anonymous Anonymous said :

Dear all at tsunamihelp,
what a wonderful site you have come up with!
congratulations and many thanks!

I am writing as a like-minded chap wanting to help out.
Now let me come to the point straightaway -

Seeing the effectiveness of tsunamihelp.blogspot.com, why dont we extend the idea one logical step further - make an emergency response management portal.
***********************************
but for that we need the support of some big institution, ideally it would be the government of India but now look at Google's SMS service
Google can definitely be approached and I feel that Google will not say no to this.
***********************************

Yahoo is another company which may get into this
I wrote a mail to ndmindia.org but it seems that site is lying dead and unattended for months

The idea is to set up an SMS delivering server which runs hand in hand with a scaled-up version of your tsunami blog - it maintains a list of phone numbers of all people in every area in every country - AT LEAST of THOSE WHO WISH TO VOLUNTEER and when there is an emergency those who are willing to volunteer can get contacted and they can reach the site of calamity in the Golden Hour and possibly save many lives.
In the days that follow it can co-ordinate relief operations just as tsunamihelp.blogspot.com has been doing
***********************************
The exact scenario will be:

1)Run a public awareness campaign and get mobile phone numbers of people wanting to volunteer in crises -they just have to send an sms saying YES.
2)on the fateful day, a bomb blasts/train derails/buses collide either away from a big city or maybe in the middle of it
3)the authentic news gets to the portal.
4)inside five minutes, the system prepares a list of mobile or landline numbers of volunteers or NGOs in the vicinity of the incident
(assuming of course that people or NGOs have volunteered already after an awareness campaign, on their own to help in case of such an event)
5)the next minute it sends SMSes to the numbers and asks for replies
6)rescue management begins - the system keeps asking and sending more SMSes or automated calls to get maximum number of people to help
7)If more people than required are contacted at any time, it stops sending messages.
8)the police/fire brigade reach to find help already there, then they take over.
9)the server is now busy answering panic enquiries via SMS or via WWW till the whole episode is over - managing affairs post-disaster is as important as managing things on that day
***********************************

***********************************
Now, what you can maybe do is put up a vote on your blog and
get everyone visiting it to sign a form saying that such a server
should be set up and start taking numbers of ordinary citizens
willing to help - here is where Google SMS comes into play
As it is they are providing shop and travel information
areawise for free, They can very well setup a world database of volunteers - they can even make money out of it by their ads
IF YOU TELL THEM THIS THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO LISTEN THAN
IF I DO - ALSO GOOGLE HAS ITS MAPS SERVICE AND THEN THERE are these free tools - NASA WORLDWIND, GOOGLE EARTH, jSMSEngine. These just point to the expertise that exists on the WWW to manage this concept
***********************************

Think of it, citizens helping out before the slow government machinery starts reacting - of course - you should put in govt agncies as well to get intimated of any news if an emergency arises

Also, in the recent Mumbai floods, there was absolutely no use of mobile phones - so when such a jamming of mobile networks makes the SMS server useless, at that time, dial-up access to internet is still working - I personally used this techinque with a lot of success - Me and my friends and relatives kept exchanging emails to stay in touch - all of us could access the internet via simple dial-up
***********************************
On the day of the emergency, the server can act like a message board like all TV channels do and so did the tsunamihelp blog
***********************************

****************
Cost and effort:
****************
1) hardware for the system - not more than INR 10,00,000.
2) software, and implementation - zero - you will get volunteer
programmers to build the site very easily
3) just get someone big to
launch the portal - then surely quite a few of the programmers at apache.org, sourceforge.net, linux.org, tigris.org, wikipedia.org, openoffice.org
will jump right in to make a system better than any industry expert can!
4) Volunteers to sit at the premises - you can easily get about
15-20 guys. Disaster management agencies around the world can unite in this project
***********************************
I know it sounds _big_ - but how possible did tsunamihelp sound before dec 26?
***********************************

***********************************
BOTTOMLINE: GET GOOGLE INTO THIS BY THE NUMBER OF REQUESTS!
***********************************

Another place which has already started a site for co-operation among volunteers is karmayog.com.

I would however need to add that personally, my expertise is limited
to this idea only. I regret that very much. I am neither very good at making web sites nor mobile programming.

***********************************
if you have any contacts in either Google or Yahoo, that will be great -
***********************************
and with those thousands (hopefully more) of signatures, ask someone big to take up the idea saying "so many people want this thing"
***********************************

Warm regards,
A.B.Chawla
abchawla@rediffmail.com

Sat Aug 27, 08:14:00 PM IST  
Anonymous web hosting provider said :

The idea is to set up an SMS delivering server which runs hand in hand with a scaled-up version of your tsunami blog - it maintains a list of phone numbers of all people in every area in every country - AT LEAST of THOSE WHO WISH TO VOLUNTEER and when there is an emergency those who are willing to volunteer can get contacted and they can reach the site of calamity in the Golden Hour and possibly save many lives.
In the days that follow it can co-ordinate relief operations just as tsunamihelp.blogspot.com has been doing okey tanks

Wed Feb 01, 03:42:00 AM IST