It has been a year since the horrific tragedy of the Boxing Day Tsunami last year. This year has seen more than it's fair share of tragedy and disaster. The hurricanes, an earthquake in Kashmir, and hundreds of other disasters that never quite make international news. It is with the intention of reminding us that reconstruction of lives is not over in these places that World Wide Helps reminds us about the events of the year and the need for a Disaster Remembrance Week.
“During the course of the year, other disasters took their toll too. Most devastating of them: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the South-East coast of the USA; and another enormous earthquake near Pakistan's border with India.
These disasters took their immediate toll, and, each time, the world tried to help. But as calamity piled upon calamity, there has been a certain amount of fatigue. Perhaps people's stock of goodwill has run low. Perhaps seeing too much suffering hardens us.
But, the fact is, the suffering from those disasters has not ceased. Parts of South Asia have still not recovered from December 26th, 2004. In the USA, normalcy hasn't returned to New Orleans. In Pakistan, thousands are still homeless, and may not survive the harsh Himalayan winter.
They need your help…. Can we harness that goodwill, that togetherness, that willingness to help once more?”
Later after the deputy prime minster has spoken, we file towards the bay. A six or seven-year old blond girl with a white sundress gently bows and places her palms into a triangular wai.
She lays a white orchid given to each surviving family member at the ceremony by the altar ledge fringed with flowers, photos, incense sticks and remembrances circling the banyan tree wrapped in rainbow colored sashes. Her mother stands behind with the jeweled bay stark in the background.
It's crucial at this point to remember that while we give by reaching into our pockets, we don't forget the smaller-less known causes. When you do give to the well-covered causes, please don't compromise your contribution to the other ones. Remember the victims, and recall the promises made by governments and aid agencies.