A memorable disaster to put on the wish list to forget | SummitDaily.com

A memorable disaster to put on the wish list to forget

Gary Lindstrom

Tsunami: A great sea wave produced by submarine earth movement or volcanic eruption.Krakatao: An island and volcano in Indonesia between Sumatra and Java.Both have been major events and good movies. A few days ago it became reality for all of us.It was so powerful that it set off seismic detectors in Central Park in New York City.It was so powerful that witnesses said that the ocean went dry for a moment before the water rushed back over the earth.Ten different countries were directly impacted by the tsunami.The first number I remember hearing was around 20,000 believed dead and several thousands of others missing. Then it went to 40,000. Then 80,000. Now they believe that there are over 100,000 dead with the possibility that number will triple to 300,000 with the deaths from disease.

In one resort, the death toll was 3,000 with 1,500 of the victims listed as American.Some reports are now saying that it will be the greatest disaster ever recorded in the history of mankind. The worst-ever earthquake and the worst-ever death toll.Just when you thought that it could not get any worse, it does.The tremendous population density in the Indian Ocean basin only adds to the magnitude of the event. There have been a couple of earthquakes as large in Alaska and other sparsely populated areas so the human toll was not as great.The increase in methods of communication makes it all that more dramatic. Hundreds of tourists were on scene with their video cameras recording the water flooding over the beaches and inland areas.The video of the bodies of the dead only adds to the drama of the tragedy.One report said that there were more women and children dead in the flooding because they did not learn to swim as part of their culture. The men could swim to help themselves while the women and children could not.The first person reports of men and women talking about their search for paradise during the Christmas holidays: One minute they are lounging on a sandy beach and the next minute they are being swept up in the water either out to sea or inland into the buildings and vegetation.

In Colorado we are especially touched by our residents who were there when it happened and survived or are now talking about their friends who died in the tsunami.In the 35 years I have lived in Colorado, we’ve always had the occasional report of an earthquake. A couple of times we were told that there had been earthquakes in the area near the top of Loveland Pass. Other earthquakes occurred in the Denver area when water was pumped into the ground at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. They stopped the pumping and the earthquakes stopped.We always feel as if we are so far away from earthquakes, tornados, and other natural disasters. Normally they do not happen at our altitude. We even joke about how we will all have beachfront property when California drops into the Pacific Ocean. Gallows humor.I have kept a mental list of the things that have happened in my lifetime that I would choose to forget.The assassination of John Kennedy. The assassination of Martin Luther King. The assassination of Bobby Kennedy. The Challenger Disaster. The Columbia Disaster. The World Trade Center Disaster.And now the Tsunami Disaster of Christmas 2004.

The victims’ most important need right now is bottled water to drink. There is an immediate need for cash donations. The easiest and quickest way to get money to the people is through the American Red Cross. You can write a check to our local Egon Gerson Center and indicate in the memo space for it to be used for the Tsunami Disaster.We are so blessed to live in a place without the threat of too many natural disasters. We should take this opportunity to pay it forward.Rep. Gary Lindstrom of Lakeview Meadows represents Summit, Eagle and Lake counties in the state House of Representatives. He can be reached at gary@garylindstrom.com or visit his website at http://www.garylindstrom.com.

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