Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Disaster in Southeast Asia

I've spent the last four or five days looking at the satellite imagery available on the Internet from Southeast Asia. I'm taking a short break to regain my sanity.

It's incredible how much damage there is, and how far away some areas were from the earthquake's epicenter, yet still affected.

The coastal areas of Sumatra are devastated, from the northern tip halfway down on the eastern coast, and even farther on the west coast. Anything below about 50 feet elevation is simply gone - buildings and roads, trees and grass, even the land itself in may places. Several large towns and hundreds of smaller villages no longer exist, or are represented by a handful of damaged homes. Some areas were damaged as much as five miles inland.

The Andaman and Nicobar islands, located between Indonesia and Burma, but belonging to India, were also hard hit. One island was totally ripped in half. Others have some damaged areas, and some areas that appear to have no damage at all. The main airfield on Cor Nicobar has suffered some damage, but can be put back in shape with a good cleaning. The housing area is much harder hit.

The entire coast of India was hit, from the Burmese border to halfway around the southern tip. It's strange how some areas appear to have only minor damage, while elsewhere whole villages are uprooted, trashed, and filled with debris. Sri Lanka, too, was hard hit, and many fishermen lost their livelihood, if not their lives. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, and millions are without power and other utilities. Just getting food to the damaged areas is difficult or impossible.

Thailand and Malaysia were also hard hit. The island of Phuket has been hammered. There was a pair of photos of the coastal area above Phuket where several resorts were all but wiped out, along with a dozen or more villages. in between, there are areas where there is little or no visible damage. The capreciousness of nature is unbelievable.

One of the areas few people ever hear about, the Maldive Islands off the southwestern coast of India, was also hard hit. Not only were buildings destroyed, boats sunk, and trees ripped up, but the reefs that surround and protect the islands were also damaged. There are huge gouge marks in the barrier reefs, looking like a scene where a thousand fingers were dragged through fresh mud.

There isn't enough imagery to see all the damage. I doubt I'd have enough time to look at it if it was available. I certainly know it's depressing work. Yet if it can help in any way, it's the least I can do. Please visit the sites that provide the best relief, and support them any way you can:

Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunamy Blog
Wiki News: Ground Zero Information
I've posted the information I've gleaned from the imagery here. The site's currently down, but we hope to have it up again by tomorrow (Jan 6, 2005). There's a mirror, but I don't have the URL at the moment. I'll post an update when I find it.

UPDATE: The other site is here.

Anything any one of us does to help will be appreciated by those that have lost everything, even hope.

Also support Captain Ed's "World Relief Day" crusade January 12th.

If anyone has access to any aerial or satellite photography we haven't already used, access to that would also be very greatly appreciated! We especially need imagery of Kenya, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Malaysia. Send it to me by clicking on "Old Patriot's Pen" above.


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