Everest summiter Swee Chiow just came back from Maldives after helping with
the relief work there...
Copyright © Khoo Swee Chiow
Swee's report: A Maldivian called my friend Alfred the day
after the waves struck. He asked for help. So we went. He took us to
Guraidhoo island (31km from Male, the capitol of Maldives). Guraidhoo has 3
deaths, 2 missing and 720 homeless. Walking thru the village, it is like a war
zone. It is awfully quiet, a deadly silence after the storm. Sadness filled
the air. Folks staring blankly at their homes that are no more. A lifetime of
hard work only to be destroyed in minutes by Mother Nature. Given the large
number of homeless, it is a miracle that Guraidhoo has a low death toll.
Though Guraidhoo is only 45 minutes by boat from the
capitol, it is still experiencing a shortage of water and food. The affected
islands in more remote areas will be much worse off.
As of 1 Jan, Maldives has 76 deaths, 32 missing and 13,000
homeless. Though these numbers seem small compared to Indonesia and Sri Lanka,
we decided to help, simply because they asked.
Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands on 19 atolls lying in a north-south
direction spanning 868km. It is this vast area that makes any relief work
difficult. Some islands are 1-2 days' boat ride away from the capitol. Some
sea planes have been damaged. 199 islands are inhabited of which about half
have reported damages of varying severity. 13 islands have evacuated its
people to other islands. Unlike India and Sri Lanka, the Maldivians have no
high ground to run from the tsunami. It is a nation with its highest point no
more than 6 feet above sea level. Out of 87 resorts, 19 are reported closed
due to damages from the disaster. There are about 17,000 tourists in Maldives.
I made the trip with Alfred Lye from IMC(S) (Institute of
Management Consultants (Singapore) ). The relief work has just begun. IMC will
be helping to organize water, food and whatever is needed.
Please help the people of Maldives. For more info, please
contact +65-63721728 or
Or Donation could be sent to the Singapore
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org.sg/
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