You may or may not have…

You may or may not have heard about the 8.9 Richter ocean earthquake that caused a tsunami which has killed 2000 - 4000 people in Sri Lanka, and several thousand more in other parts of southeast Asia. According to one website, "Government officials lamented that if Sri Lanka was on the International Coordination Group for the Tsunami Warning System then the impact would not have been this terrible. We cannot prevent natural disasters, but we can minimize their impact, he said. The Tsunami system predicts where tsunamis will strike up to 14 hours in advance." They also note that they're particularly short of doctors and medical supplies; they're asking for any trained medical personnel who can to come and help. That same academic site currently offers a link for donations towards relief efforts. I'm not familiar personally with the site, but it looks legitimate; they have a tax-deductible donor ID, which is a good sign.

Here's an eyewitness account, centered on a village that didn't end up on Karina's and my itinerary but which easily could have. None of my immediate or slightly extended family are in the country at the moment. I haven't had a chance to talk to my folks yet, so I don't know whether we do have relatives or friends there who have been affected. I'll let you know if I learn more. Thanks for the good thoughts, everyone. This is a particularly terrible thing to happen to a country that is still trying desperately to recover from the ravages of almost two decades of civil war. It would be terrible at any time, in any place of course, but the timing of this is particularly bad. In two thousand years of recorded history, Sri Lanka has never encountered a disaster on anything like this scale.

I'm still planning on travelling there from February 6th to March 7th, at least for now.

In other news; I've been travelling all day; my flight was delayed an hour in Atlanta, but I just barely made it to the reading in time, and it went well. I'm now at Sharmi's boyfriend's apartment; Ryan has generously let me crash here while he's out of town, and I'm very grateful to have a familiar place with free wifi in which I can process what's happened so far today, and prepare for tomorrow. I think it's going to take me a while to wind down. I'm hoping to be asleep by midnight, though, so I can get close to eight hours sleep before tomorrow's first interview.

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