Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tsunami Update: Caring and Controversy

Fate and Mother Nature, it is said, can be fickle bitches. No more so than with the 2004 tsunami that basically carved human life off the western edge of Sumatra, to the tune of 200,000 victims across multiple countries.

A number like that makes even Hurricane Katrina, burned into American psyches as the ultimate in natural devastation, pale in comparison. That's why ripples from that day still resonate today, as the Malaysian government moves to push refugees from hard-hit Aceh province - about 25,000 total - back to their home country. They have until January to get out, or else face deportation. Then take the U.S. government's Aceh highway that's being built as a signature response to the tsunami, which ironically will cut through homes that have already been rebuilt by relief organizations like Christian Aid. "It's so absurd," laments one humanitarian worker.

Both stories are stiff reminders that there's still plenty of work to be done and problems to address, even for a tragedy that seems like it washed ashore so long ago. Relief organizations in Indonesia are plentiful - the Red Cross, Care, Direct Relief and Doctors Without Borders among them - but one to consider is a charity that tends to those kids left parentless,

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