The real magnitude of the impact of can neither be expressed in words nor pictures. As a resident of probably one of the worst hit areas we can vouch for a tale of destruction that one has till now only seen on television or read in the media...We stood at the window of my room watching the muddy waters deceptively make its first foray down the road when all of a sudden it was joined by floods from two other directions and erupted into a nightmare! Within seconds the flood from three directions battered against our corner villa and poured in through every nook and cranny. Soon we had waist high water inside my house. As it started creeping up the steps to our first floor where all of us - men and animals - had sheltered, we were ready to redefine the very concept of nightmare and helplessness. As the filthy waters rose in our house, we felt strangely violated. Then came the feeling of resignation. We were too numbed to be angry. And we felt too helpless to be useful...But the tragedy brought with it a sense of camaraderie, a one-ness, a belongingness, and pure unconditional service...For somebody who loves to tell a story, I feel too bereft to narrate the horror that I witness every evening. The tension, the loss, the tiredness, the residual fear that have drawn deep scars on the faces of the people of this neighborhood cannot be scripted or photographed. We stand or sit with them for a few minutes and realize they are too afraid even to meet the eye in case they are confronted by the fear they feel. We know of families who have lost their kith and kin. We know groups of people who thought they had weathered the storm only to perish as they came down from their so-called safe perch. We know people who are still looking lost because they have lost what they have associated themselves with for the last couple of decades...The pain and tragedy of this last week is going to leave an indelible mark on the psyches of the people for a long long time to come.But what we will also remember is the help and support and comfort that have come from so many people...
The above is an excerpt from the poignant testimony of a storm survivor. I am deeply moved by it. Interestingly it's not written by a Katrina survivor but by an Al Ghubra resident who survived cyclone Gonu. And I've heard almost identical words spoken and written by New Orleanians who survived the wrath of Katrina. I've heard similar words spoken by folks who live along the Gulf Coast and have had their lives uprooted by such storms. There is indeed a universality to this experience. Those of us who have survived such an experience are bonded by it , whether we're citizens living in the New Orleans area or in places as far away as the middle east. So I hope you will take the time to read this bloggers full letter at the Gonuoman Blog. And also please take a moment just to send your good wishes and/or prayers (if you are so inclined) to the folks attempting to sort out their lives in the aftermath of Gonu.
Salaam 'alaikum" ( "peace be with you")