“NO POINT IN LIVING”

The confirmed tsunami death toll now stands at 55,000. Indonesia has lost 27,174; Sri Lanka more than 17,600; India, more than 8,500. It’s shortly expected that the toll will reach 60,000.

Eight Australians are confirmed dead; another eleven are missing, including Melbourne AFL player Troy Broadbridge.

“This was the worst day in our history,” says Sri Lankan businessman YP Wickramsinghe. “I wish I had died. There is no point in living.”

On general disaster issues, The Age’s John Schauble believes he has a solution:

Predicting the occurrence of earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, heatwaves, volcanic eruptions and even lesser events such as bushfires, tropical cyclones and localised flooding is an inexact business. But there is much that can be done in terms of hazard mitigation and even prevention. This can occur at both a national and multinational level. But harnessing the political, social and economic will to achieve this – as ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has shown – is far easier said than done.

Sure, John. Meanwhile, The Australian publishes this list of charities to which you may donate. Look again at the numbers at the top of this post, and please contribute.

Posted by Tim B. on 12/29/2004 at 04:10 AM
    1. Do you need a high school diploma to work for the Melbourne Age?

      No?

      Then this explains why John Schauble thinks global warming causes earthquakes.

      Posted by Gary from Jersey on 12/29 at 05:00 AM • #

 

    1. Hazard mitigation is an effective means of preventing loss of life and property.  Done properly, it can enhance the environment.  The floodplain management program in the United States is partial proof of that.

      But it takes *resources* to make it happen.  Only a prosperous nation with surplus wealth can afford hazard mitigation and prevention.  Even in the USA, with full support, it’s a hit or miss prospect.  And sometimes the support is not there because it costs money that’s not available.

      The Kyoto Treaty would likely reduce the capability of nations to implement hazard mitigation, since it is effectively a means to level the economic playing field.  In fact, the Kyoto Treaty has nothing to do with hazard mitigation—it’s (supposedly) for environmental protection.  Related to, but not the same thing as, hazard mitigation.

      Sure, John.  Too bad you don’t know who really pays the bill here, isn’t it?

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 12/29 at 05:06 AM • #

 

    1. Maybe I’m just searching for a silver lining, but I’d argue the tsunami may have done some good along with all the destruction. Bad people died, too.

      Posted by Confederate Yankee on 12/29 at 06:00 AM • #

 

    1. Gary, re: “Then this explains why John Schauble thinks global warming causes earthquakes.”

      Really.  They’re going way to far now.  *rolling eyes* Geesh, EVERYONE knows that earthquakes are caused by Mars opposing Uranus!  (Now all we need to do is figure out a way to get the New Agers and Warmingistas arguing with each other instead of us! 😀 )

      Posted by mamapajamas on 12/29 at 06:53 AM • #

 

    1. Thanks for keeping the numbers posted, Tim. I don’t see them available, so prominently, anywhere else.

      Posted by m on 12/29 at 07:04 AM • #

 

    1. I heard someone on a BBC phone in blame Bush not signing Kyoto for the Tsunami as well. Apparantly the great Posiden is angry at global warming.

      Posted by Ross on 12/29 at 07:28 AM • #

 

    1. Tim,
      Please encourage everyone to donate to anyone but UNICEF.  Given the current state of that program, the UNICEF Employees, would probably eat the food and use the blankets to rape the victims.

      Posted by Linda in Whittier, CA on 12/29 at 07:40 AM • #

 

    1. Overpopulation causes earthquakes, what with all that random foot stomping, etc., coming into harmonic synchrony.

      Posted by J. Peden on 12/29 at 07:46 AM • #

 

    1. You know, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disaters were totally unknown before W took office.
      I’m a little pissed at enviro-wackos right now…

      Posted by Mr. Blue on 12/29 at 08:56 AM • #

 

    1. Tim:
      Of all the blogs I visit, you’re doing a great job on this story, better than most big media outlets.  Keep up the good work.

      Posted by Matt in Denver on 12/29 at 09:17 AM • #

 

    1. The SMH has posted clsoe to 60,000
      http://www.smh.com.au/ WST,Perth,0650 hrs

      Posted by Louis on 12/29 at 09:52 AM • #

 

    1. No disaster is too big to overcome politics; Sri Lanka has knocked back aid from Israel.

      Posted by rog on 12/29 at 10:16 AM • #

 

    1. Let’s hope the “Coalition of the Willing” is as willing to provide financial assistance to those desperately in need as it has been to throw billions of dollars at the “war on terror” over the past few years.

      Posted by guyb on 12/29 at 10:18 AM • #

 

    1. Thanks for keeping us updated and for links to charities we may donate to.

      It’s making me very ill the way some people are taking advantage of this horrible situation to make political points. From Schauble getting in his 2 cents about Kyoto to the idiot UN spokesman who said the US could/should give more by raising taxes. I guess there’s no situation so grim that people don’t feel shame for using it to make whatever points they feel need to be made.

      Confederate Yankee:

      I’ve visited your blog and I have enjoyed it. I mean NO disrespect to you, but perhaps the point would be better made once the situation is behind us.  Right now it seems just a tad insensitive to be glad that among the 50K or so dead there are terrorists whose deaths we’d welcome.

      I AM glad to hear that terrorists have died. Just not right now.

      Posted by CJosephson on 12/29 at 10:18 AM • #

 

    1. Does anyone know which charities give more of the donations to the victims?  I don’t want my donation to be absorbed into a big charities’ advertising budget.  How can we know if the money will get to the people who need it?

      Posted by BigDoug on 12/29 at 10:20 AM • #

 

    1. I’ve heard that World Vision has a very low overhead and already has infrastructure to provide aid in the affected areas.  That’s where I’m going to send my money.

      Posted by Polly on 12/29 at 10:25 AM • #

 

    1. Charity Query:

      Among the links I’ve seen for donations, I’ve not seen anything about which organizations are coordinating the relief on the ground to the victims.

      Anyone know?

      —–
      Somehow guyb’s post that’s right underneath rog’s helps to make rog’s point about no disaster being big enough to overcome politics.

      Yep, the first thing *I* always think of in a disaster is having a political point to make so I can go onto someone’s blog and make it.

      I really do wonder if some people see ALL situations as just a prop to help them make political points?! Must suck to be them.

      Posted by CJosephson on 12/29 at 10:27 AM • #

 

    1. ..and somehow the Guybs of the world prove that they arent big enough to overcome their own politics.

      Posted by rog on 12/29 at 10:44 AM • #

 

    1. CJosephson – do you not hope that environmental tragedies are given at least as much attention by governments as tragedies inflicted by terrorists?

      That hope was the crux of my comment. I don’t think I was making any sort of political point by hoping that.

      Posted by guyb on 12/29 at 10:45 AM • #

 

    1. Rog – If so – then ditto for the Rogs of the world!

      Posted by guyb on 12/29 at 10:46 AM • #

 

    1. ABC A.M. today——U.N. representative says rich countries becoming more “stingy” with aid.U.S. objects and he recants. Presenter helpfully contributes “American retail association says Americans will spend over Christmas 44 Billion dollars- on ( quelle horreur) food,gifts and holiday accommodation. Gerald Tooth–no don’t say it—-went on in his programme to ask which countries arethe Worst aid donors? America of course and northern Europe is tops! Also America and Australian aid is Of course not as good because it is tied!UNDER lABOR GOVS WE GAVE MUCH MORE AID….-AND Feds ops in New Guinea cause us to give less aid.Guest is Tim O’connor from AidWatch..Radio National of course.

      Posted by crash on 12/29 at 10:53 AM • #

 

    1. Oops forgot -this particular stingy Aussie household did contribute.Did Gerald?

      Posted by crash on 12/29 at 10:56 AM • #

 

    1. There is now a Democratic Underground thread on how the Earthquake is Bush’s fault:

      “Planet warms… glaciers melt, possibly increasing increasing Chandler’s wobble… good thing the brainiac didn’t see the wisdom in signing off on the Kyoto thingy. I bet this won’t even dawn on the repugs, this administration, shrub, vice-pResident, none of them.”

      http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104×2868464#2868495

      Posted by Ross on 12/29 at 11:04 AM • #

 

    1. I guess the massive aid given by the US to Russia when the rouble collapsed in 1998 doesnt count?

      3 million tonnes of grain and meat.

      Posted by rog on 12/29 at 11:09 AM • #

 

    1. I referenced that to Guybs website comments;

      Let’s hope that the resulting funds collected by international governments and relevant NGOs are enough to provide real and meaningful assistance in the region. Particularly in light of the truly staggering amount of monies spent by overzealous governments on the war on terror over the last few years.

      A pessimist might suggest that for some government administrations, the ongoing quest to find Osama bin Laden will prove more worthy of public expenditure than helping poor people in desperate need.

      But surely the world is not so twisted, right?

      Posted by rog on 12/29 at 11:11 AM • #

 

    1. Rog:

      Yes, my blog comment was much more cynical.

      The massive aid you mentions obviously counts. So let’s see some more of that then? Will such efforts be replicated when they are perhaps even more desperately needed now, or not?

      I bloody well hope that the likes of Bush and Blair, and indeed Putin and Chirac (etc.) provide hefty financial assistance to Thailand and Sri Lanka. I admit to being fairly doubtful that they will, but I will in fact be very pleased if I they surprise me with their generosity.

      Posted by guyb on 12/29 at 11:22 AM • #

 

    1. It might be cheaper to significantly cut funding for global warming, and divert that to the relief effort. No need to raise any taxes.

      The suggestion that the US raise taxes is somewhat transparent.

      Posted by Louis on 12/29 at 11:34 AM • #

 

    1. America is giving its young lives to establish 2 democracies -alongside aussies.Worth something?

      Posted by crash on 12/29 at 11:37 AM • #

 

    1. Back at the ABC Gerald is finding the bright side of Religion in America -“Unitarianism -the bastion of same sex marriage”.

      Posted by crash on 12/29 at 11:56 AM • #

 

    1. Just occurred to me – The UN wants the US to raise taxes? Clearly the UN is not going to divert any funding to existing projects, just wants the US to increase its burden.

      I thought capital was scarce and is always directed to the most urgent needs.

      Time to ditch the UN.

      Posted by Louis on 12/29 at 11:59 AM • #

 

    1. “This can occur at both a national and multinational level. But harnessing the political, social and economic will to achieve this – as ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has shown – is far easier said than done.”

      I think the author was saying that getting anything done is the problem, and NOT blaming any person for the NATURAL DISASTER.

      C’mon folks, read the words, don’t assume the worst all the time.

      Posted by Fat_Pat on 12/29 at 12:19 PM • #

 

    1. Those who preach that materialism is wrong are quick to advise on how best distribute material wealth.

      Posted by rog on 12/29 at 12:25 PM • #

 

    1. True Fat_Pat – institutional inertia is the problem, and the inability of such institutitions to accept responsibiltiy for misjudgements.

      Therein is the problem and the solution.

      Posted by Louis on 12/29 at 12:26 PM • #

 

    1. Guyb, you sure are dense, which means I can go no further with this.  You must retreat to Kindergarten and start over, I’m afraid.

      Posted by J. Peden on 12/29 at 12:50 PM • #

 

    1. Hmmm.

      Posted by Hubris on 12/29 at 01:48 PM • #

 

    1. Small point of order here: Schauble is quite clearly NOT linking this disaster to the non-ratification ot Kyoto by certain recalcitrant states. Read the article – it’s completely clear.

      Not sure where you lot went to school, but clearly simple COMPREHENSION was not on the curriculum.

      Really, Tim. Tsk, tsk. Congrats on the coverage apart from that, though. You know, you have the makings of a good reporter, if you could just resist your more tabloid urges.

      Here at work, we’ve been thinking about how to help the victims in a practical sense. Giving money seems somehow inadequate, but we’ve raised just over $700 today, and I’d appreciate some advise on which is the most reliable aid agency to give the money to. Anyone here that can help?

      Posted by Hubris on 12/29 at 01:56 PM • #

 

    1. “Schauble is quite clearly NOT linking this disaster to the non-ratification ot Kyoto by certain recalcitrant states.”

      I know. That’s why I wrote that Schauble was discussing “general disaster issues”.

      Posted by tim on 12/29 at 02:10 PM • #

 

    1. guydope,

      hubris indeed…

      Posted by guinsPen on 12/29 at 02:15 PM • #

 

    1. meanwhile, united nations headcheese kofi annan when informed of the disaster commented that he was ‘deeply concerned’.

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 12/29 at 02:34 PM • #

 

    1. Louis, you hit the nail on the head.  I think the US should suspend all funding of the UN and divert the funds to the relief effort.  Now that would be generous.  While we’re at it, I propose moving the UN HQ to a spanking new building in Mogadishu or Dar es Salaam.

      Posted by Matt in Denver on 12/29 at 02:53 PM • #

 

    1. No, Matt, my vote for new UN HQ goes to Dafur.

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 12/29 at 03:20 PM • #

 

    1. Oz has just raised its contribution to $35 million. Same as the US, sort of, depends on the FX rates.

      Matt, all congress need do is deny funding to climate change too, though how the UN managed to cope when the US previously refused to contribute, raises the question of where the money came from.

      Posted by Louis on 12/29 at 03:21 PM • #

 

    1. CJosephson,

      No offense taken, I know that I have raised a few hackles by posting what I did, when I did. Perhaps the timing could have been better, but the subject matter was, IMHO, worth mentioning.

      Posted by Confederate Yankee on 12/29 at 04:04 PM • #

 

    1. We haven’t come far in the last 500 years, have we? At least, listening, watching and reading the comments from the vulturous MSM, the lunatic left and the deeply committed ‘earth-loving’ community it doesn’t seem so. One can easily imagine the zealots and the demagogues of the 16th. Century seizing on an entirely natural disaster as proof that their zany beliefs in much the same that their counterparts are now.
      One of the earliest commentaries I heard about this (horrendous) disaster was from an obscure professor which the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had obviously hustled up at short notice – he said, that ancient civilisations tended to have their beginnings in upland valleys and plains, well away from low-lying coastal areas where the ancients knew, from long experience, that bad things happened there.
      Clearly, this point-of-view was heretical on several points, not the least of which was that the ancients were a whole lot smarter than us ‘technologically advanced’ humanoids and that these natural disasters had no human causation. I haven’t heard any more from this enlightened (though politically naive) scientist. Presumably he’s been hustled away to a deep, dark, ABC(figurative) cellar and been given the usual (figurative) bullet in the back of the neck..
      Anyone who’s really interested in how close Planet Earth comes to natural annihilation each half-decade should really read the docu-novels of Bill Napier. They don’t make you feel better but, at least, they put things in perspective. Life is transitory we are all going to die – sometime – live each day at a time.

      Posted by Boss Hog on 12/29 at 04:10 PM • #

 

  1. Let them speak out Boss Hog; their weak opinions fall apart when confronted with the facts of day to day living.

    Expect a wave of protest against those that extract political mileage from others misfortune.

    Posted by rog on 12/29 at 06:58 PM • #