“tri anni horribili”

Around this time, 3 years ago, we were still pretty wet.
But we were united, full of hope and full of confidence.
We even managed a swift and highly efficient self-recovery.

  • We had our very own reliable Early Warning System.
  • The Bay was covered with a high speed WiFi system, free to access by all.
  • We had a good medical clinic thanks to DEMIRA.
  • There was no talk of ‘Tamil’, Muslim or Sinhalese “Area”.
  • Above all, there was no war.
  • All was Then – Not Now.

In our personal experience, the natural flood event 3 years ago was nothing compared with the man made disaster which has unfolded since.

Still, the ‘great’ organizations are content with their ‘impressive’ achievements.
Take a look at two examples, published this week.

  • The Red Crusaders and Half Moonies dwell in glowing reports “From the Field”.
  • http://www.arugam.info/2007/12/25/from-the-field/
  • http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/220224/
  • 31b45032a6112e837bf489cb2a4d2cc1.htm
  • We, the actual victims, had no idea that the guys in plush offices in Colombo 7, such as their grand mansion in Gregory Road, are involved in agriculture Lopid online . But we do know that they tend to send their local staff near -but never actually into – the odd trouble zone. Whilst all ex pats remain near the Happy Hour and the up market ‘Bay Leaf Restaurant opposite on Gregory’s Rd. A excellent location to pretend that IRCS so-called management also do a highly ‘dangerous’ job “In the killing Fields”. This of course is a great tool to justify their high wages and danger allowances.

You can even get it for FREE. They stress. Who the hell would want this silly map, which shows no details at all and doesn’t even mention the hardest hit area Arugam Bay remains their own little secret.
A far better map was produced by the British, 60 years ago and this one is actually useful – but it does cost 75Rs./ at the Ordinance Dept. in Colombo. For this huge amount you actually receive an updated, modern version showing every telegraph pole.

  • Mercy Corps and Oprah Whinfrey are still boasting with the fact that they “changed our lives”.
  • Indeed, they did.
  • But just about everything is much worse than it ever was before in the Bay.
  • No matter. The popular, very clever Show is well in the clear. Financially.
  • Harpo Inc. collected huge sums in the name of Arugam Bay with their 3 shows.
  • A substantial surplus of many Millions was made, even after ‘reaching out’ by signing a cheque for 1 Mill. and walking away from our long term, Mercy Corpse created problems.

How blissful must it be, to be ignorant!

On one side the gullible donors are impressed with glowing and highly inflated claims of achievements.
On the victims side, where nobody has Internet access (Why?? We often wonder??), no one has an idea what is claimed abroad to have been done. In the remote little Bay.
Arugam.info, and also myself are (un-)lucky enough to be able to see and compare both sides.
And as they never seem to match we have seen it as our duty to report – directly from the Field. For three, terrible, long years we did just that.. If we don’t draw attention to this huge fraud, who else is to do so? It got us nowhere. On the contrary, we harmed ourselves and we would have done better to grovel and give in to their financial super power. Earning a few of the morsels they tend to drop to the greedy and their sympathizer’s.

So, who made all the difference?
Answer:
The small, simple, private people.
Exactly the kind of group, the BIG organizations wanted to keep out. Their advice was NOT to take matters into one’s own hand and leave the Tsunami help in their ‘experienced’ and ‘trusted’ hands.
Lucky for the Bay some did not listen and purchased a ticket and came to see, help and do what they could.
If it were not for great guys such as:

  • Nathalie, the party girl, who played with kids. Showed they that someone cared for them.
  • Tom the carpenter, who came with nothing but his tools and belief to assist
  • David le Sueur of Friends of Europe
  • Dutch girls Maria & Hanneke
  • Doc. Martin and DEMIRA,
  • Supem de Silva and the Rotary Club
  • Rasta Neelu and French Frederick
  • Per & Camilla from Danish Villa,
  • Steve of RoccoA?a??a??s fame
  • Members of SLB and Reisespinne
  • Wolfgang, the (then) webmaster
  • N.s.s. Simon, the Bay’s big donor
  • And many more

None of them ever had a vehicle fit for a Minister. Indeed, most relied on Public transport. Surprise, surprise: They all still managed to do a great deal more locally and all over the so-called ‘troubled’ East Coast than any Land Cruiser crew ever did or will do.
Without references to or demands for (non-existing-)danger money.
And all without a weird blue light on top. Or flag behind.

If these highly motivated, educated, critical and informed individuals would have been supported just a little more with some official funds (wasted daily) they are the ones who would really have changed lives to the better.

Instead, the large organizations regarded them as a threat, obstructed and even boycotted many. Most left, sad and demoralized, because they simply could not compete with (empty) promises, flash cars and elaborate lifestyles of the Great ones, which did impress and corrupt the local natives.

Most in the big organizations seem to regard their tasks as just another job. And although they may have started with great intentions they were soon grounded by their own bureaucracy. Only few had the back bone to resign in disgust. Such as Matthias from Koeln and Max Seelhofer, the Swiss Red Cross S.L country chief.
WE salute them all.

And we wish to thank our loyal, critical supporters herewith.
Without all of you great guys I am sure that some of the neck ties dropped of by the Red Cross 3 years ago would have found more than one non-intended use by now.
The US donated toilet rolls, which filled the entire “Hang Loose” Hotel at the time when we had no toilets, however, became useful after all, proving us totally wrong. A good motion.

Let us hope and pray that the next 3 years will not see are repeat performance of this mismanagement and waste of resources!

Below is just one Example.
This what we often see, locally.
Nothing at all has been done, apart from an erected sign!
Or even two…..
Example of Claim:

However, at least one organization had the neck to claim that they ‘completed’ a “Sanitary Project” in Arugam Bay. At huge expense. The trusting donors were content.
But, would they still be happy with their good deed? If they had been given the facts?
If they could have compared this grand “Project” with the REALITY, as below?
Example!

Maybe some of you can understand, why We are NOT happy with what we were forced to observe during the past Three, Terrible Years!

Happy New Year 2008!

1 Response to ““tri anni horribili””


  • This discussion is nothing new. Already 2 years ago there were doubts about the help.
    Here is an extract from the BBC web site, 2 years ago:

    Asian tsunami: One year on

    Were you affected by the devastation?

    Nearly a quarter of a million people were killed by the Indian Ocean tsunami that struck on 26 December last year.

    Record levels of aid were pledged in the aftermath of the disaster. However, a recent Oxfam report estimates that only 20% of the 1.8 million people made homeless have been given ‘satisfactory permanent accommodation’.

    Did the tsunami affect you? Is the pace of reconstruction too slow? Can life ever return to normal? Send us your views and experiences.

    Published: Tuesday, 20 December, 2005, 16:13 GMT 16:13 UK
    COMMENTS

    All comments in recommendation order

    Added: Wednesday, 21 December, 2005, 12:54 GMT 12:54 UK

    The aftermath of the Tsunami has sickened me. We donated nearly half a billion pounds yet virtually nothing has been done. I know the government of Sri Lanka embezzled much by slapping huge import tarriffs on aid. I presume much of the rest has gone the same way. In future my charity donations stay in the UK and go to the RSPCA, RNLI & guide dogs for the blind. At least that way I know I’m doing some rather than swelling the swiss bank accounts of 3rd world ministers.

    [Peter_Sym], Nottingham

    Recommended by 33 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 13:02 GMT 13:02 UK

    I am stunned at the lack of compassion of some of the comments on this topic.

    If you are too self absorbed to give to those less fortunate so be it.

    If the images and stories of the victims of disasters (both natural and man made) are not enough to stir your conscience into giving I pity you.

    BUT do not try to justify your attitudes shouting “corruption”, or “we have our own problems (“So There”).

    Just how bad are our problems when those of us here are happily sat, sheltered and warm, tapping away on the internet?

    Torie Coughlan, London, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 31 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 12:12 GMT 12:12 UK

    why do we even bother?. Our Aid money is being blatently mis-used by those in control. These non Western countries are corrupt and undeserving of our Aid. What a waste of money!.

    [peterlondon], croydon, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 28 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 12:50 GMT 12:50 UK

    We should stop giving further money, until we have checked how previous donations have been spent.

    I suspect that a lot of the cash didn’t end up where it should have.

    So There, South of England, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 26 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 11:47 GMT 11:47 UK

    We have contributed huge amounts of money, that is not being spent properly, there is massive corruption in some of the countries getting aid, the money is not helping the people who really need it the most. A token amount of money is being used to show something is being done, god knows what has happened to the rest of it, as it has been a year and 80% of those needing our help have got nothing. These societies dont seem to have the same way of thinking we have here in the west, The poor are being left to fend for themselves, at our expense.

    Mr Mister, UK, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 23 people

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 December, 2005, 19:02 GMT 19:02 UK

    My 2 brothers and I experienced the brutal effects of the Tsunami first hand on Koh Phi Phi. Luckily we survived. I found them atop a hill after I swam from my beachfront bungalow. To this day I still remember the kindness of the Thai people, as they gave us food, water, and clothing to help us through the night. Their kindness was amazing. They had lost everything, their families, homes, so much. I wish I could thank each person individually. From the local villagers who gave us food, to the students at the airport who offered their cellphones to call home, I have never seen such compassion!

    Dave Frey, Toronto

    Recommended by 23 people

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    Added: Friday, 23 December, 2005, 07:08 GMT 07:08 UK

    Anon Ymous

    whats with the personal attack?, what are you talking about?. hatred of Islam? whos attacking anyone?, you must be some kind of Islamist or something, please remember that this is europe and not the muslim east, if people come to live here they should become a part of society and not seek to undermine or change it, I believe in freedom of speech and will not bow down to people because of their Alien religous hook ups, what are these people doing here if they cant or wont fit in?.

    DOMONIC SMITH

    Recommended by 20 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 16:43 GMT 16:43 UK

    What is really sickening is that the most recommended post on this debate is from someone saying “dont give aid to these corrupt countries”

    There is a massive amount of work going on in all the affected countries.

    Perhaps all the bigots could find a nice small island where they could all live together and not be bothered by any nasty others

    LiberalLeft AndProud, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 16 people

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    Added: Saturday, 24 December, 2005, 14:00 GMT 14:00 UK

    Some people in the western countries seem to think that they are more caring than the people from 3rd world.

    Indians donated $100 million to the Indian govt in addition to the donations to the Charity organisations. Indian government sent 4 rescue ships to srilanka within 4 hours after the disaster occurred and sent help to Aceh within 24 hours.I’ve seen images of Indian Navy rescuing survivors within 2 hours after tsunami struck the southern coast of India, Which is remarkable for a 3rd world country.

    Nobody is forcing you to donate, so please stop whining.

    Indianoguy P, Memphis, United States

    Recommended by 15 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 16:13 GMT 16:13 UK

    A lot of whingeing going on here about aid agencies and corruption, but I bet these same posters are silent over their tax dollars being pumped into the miltary-industrial complex post 2001/11/9. The (lack of ) media coverage of the tsunami aftermath is a disgrace considering the magnitude of the disaster, as compared to the atrocity in New York. Sweden lost ten times more innocents in percentage population terms to the tsunami than the US did in New York. But the tsunami was in the “3rd world” so I suppose it’s ok to forget it.

    Colin Campbell, Stockholm, Sweden

    Recommended by 15 people

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    Added: Saturday, 24 December, 2005, 13:55 GMT 13:55 UK

    I feel ashamed that many in my community think that this is Allahs punishment, and for this reason have no interest in providing any charity. They act chariatable in public, but actually contribute nothing. The poor in these regions are regarded as worthless by those in power and most foreign aid is diverted from them. I thank the genoristy of the western peoples, and only hope we dont have to always have to rely on the west in times of need.

    Saleem Ansari

    Recommended by 14 people

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    Added: Wednesday, 21 December, 2005, 15:04 GMT 15:04 UK

    The world seems to respond to the latest disaster while forgetting past disaster victim needs. Foreign aid of $5.9 billion has been earmarked for Pakistan which asked for $5.2 billion for earthquake victims while tsunami victims are still waiting for reconstruction aid. Common sense dictates, the extra $700 million should be sent to Asian tsunami victims.

    arun khanna, Indianapolis, United States

    Recommended by 13 people

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    Added: Tuesday, 27 December, 2005, 11:36 GMT 11:36 UK

    if you think those countries affected by the tsunami are corrupt,feel sorry twice.Politics and people are two different worlds.Don’t judge people by its government.

    Alex Gache, Netherlands

    Recommended by 12 people

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    Added: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 12:47 GMT 12:47 UK

    Interesting racial undertones from those begrudging aid. Again if you don’t want to contribute, DONT!

    phil b, United Kingdom

    But we don’t get a choice, because Gordon and Tony keep giving away our cash – even though we have our own problems.

    So There, South of England, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 12 people

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    Added: Saturday, 24 December, 2005, 09:04 GMT 09:04 UK

    I have got complete charity fatigue, I’m afraid. I have donated on so many occasions over the years to help starving children, AIDS sufferers, disaster victims etc etc and almost every time I have later heard that the money is not getting through to those who need it, but is making fat cats fatter or giving troops more arms or lining the pockets of corrupt local bigwigs. Is there any way to be sure donations reach their intended target? I’d love to know.

    Linda Lee, Chester, United Kingdom

    Recommended by 11 people

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