The undersea quake that triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004 was so powerful that it was felt around the globe, as far away as Alaska. Likewise, the killer waves that hammered the coasts of South and Southeast Asia left such a trail of destruction that it was like a lasting, unceasing wave.
On the eve of the mega-disaster’s fifth anniversary, I’ve been busy writing, talking and reflecting on what it meant for me personally, and my media profession and fellow Asians in general. I recently filmed an interview for Thai Public Television (TPBS), where my friend Pipope Panitchpakdi is doing a tsunami+5 documentary.
He was in Sri Lanka at the time of the tsunami, and spent two weeks working as a freelance reporter covering the aftermath for the western media. His piece sums up the mixed bag of lessons and recovery efforts that Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit countries, has accomplished in the half decade this that momentous day.
An excerpt: “Five years later, life in the affected countries has resumed, and the world has learned immensely valuable lessons about responding to catastrophe. But as with any human endeavor, some opportunities have also been lost.”