Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dispatches from Disaster Zones

An extremely intensive week and more trying to support four near-simultaneous disasters in Asia Pacific. I just wanted to post some links to daily diaries from a number of friends and colleagues who are on the ground, supporting local Red Cross societies and coordinating international relief efforts. With this wonderfully wired world it is a real bonus to be able to get first hand accounts so readily from the field.

Rosemarie North is a Kiwi who has been on the ground in Samoa since the early hours. She is a long-time Redcrosser and her diary captures very well the upset and shock that comes when communities have to grapple with the aftermath of an natural disaster - a disaster which ranks up there with one of the most feared i.e. an earthquake followed by a tsunami. Rosemarie's diary is here. Rosemarie is also tweeting on a regular basis. Check back on the site for further updates during the week.

Patrick Fuller, another colleague with heaps of experience working in natural disasters in on the ground in Padang. His daily diary has been picked up by the BBC online and will continue for the rest of the week. Also, on his own blog, our Red Cross colleague (who is head of operations in Indonesia) and sometimes contribute to Head Down Eyes Open, Bob McKerrow, is blogging his experiences from the quake zone on his own blog.

Another disaster zone in Viet Nam has received relatively less attention but where the floods and destruction left in the wake of typhoon Ketsana as uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and caused more than a hundred million dollars worth of damage according to initial assessments. Our colleagues Nguyen Hungha and Lasse Noorgard are trudging though the mud and reporting back in their daily diary.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have. For more up-to-the-minute accounts of what is happening in the disaster zones you can follow the official Red Cross twitter stream as well. Would love to get your opinions and feedback on this type of real-time reporting.

Also - if you have a moment do take a look at these incredible and moving photographs from the Boston Globe. They really drive home the power of good photography and bring us extremely close to the suffering and devastation wrought by Ketsana.


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