Below the Tsunami

I was forwarded an amazing email from a friend of a friend of a friend. It describes a very real, personal, unique encounter with the devastating natural force that has caused such harm in Asia. This email comes from a survivor of the disaster who, ironically, survived by simply staying underwater with the help of scuba gear. Check this out:Hi All,
We are alive and unhurt. We are just happy to be alive. I can’t
describe the devastation we witnessed. We spent the night carrying
injured people to a triage area for pick up most of the night. I can’t
describe carrying a moaning person who just saw his girlfriend killed
down a hill in the middle of the night. I saw more bodies than I care
to report.

The hotel where we were staying is mostly gone. We lost everything, but
our lives. We were lucky enough to be scuba diving at the moment the
wave hit. So we had no idea what was going on. We had just started the
dive, and all of a sudden visiblity dropped to almost nothing and we
starting getting sucked down, and the dive master was signalling up, up
so I started inflating my BCD and we were still dropping, so he grabbed
my BCD and we both inflated and headed straight up.

Then we still didn’t know what happened and we did another dive, but the
current was so bad we aborted the third and headed in. As we got close
we saw alot of stuff in the water. At first we just thought it was
trash, and the divemaster was complaining, why would someone throw all
this trash in the water… Then we thought maybe a boat sank… As we
got closer to shore we realized that the rooftops we were seeing were no
longer all the buildings and were just laying on the beach. The guy we
were diving with, his wife had decided to hike to the top of the island
and she text messaged him, catastrophe… Our cabana was completely
collapsed. As we came in we could see bodies floating out. We tried to
grab them so at least the families could know what happened.

Then we got in and went to our room to see if we could get shoes or
anything, but everything was gone except a pair of my shorts that I
found in the rubble (they had been hanging in the bathroom, which was
still standing). Then we headed to the main area, and since we were
unhurt we started carrying the wounded down to the area were the
emergency choppers were coming in. Gene helped free a man who was
trapped in the rubble for twelve hours, and is going to be OK. I helped
carry him back and he was lucid. But it was chaos. Everyone was
searching for loved one. Around midnight, they said no more choppers
until morning, so we broke into one of the few remaining hotel rooms
(third floor of the main building was still standing, though the first
floor was gone) and rested until 6 when we went out to help carry more
people who couldn’t walk in. Finally, once more rescue workers arrived
we grapped the first boat out we could.

Now we are trying to catch a bus to Bangkok to head to the embassy since
we have no passports or plane tickets anymore. Also, we heard cholera
is starting to spread and we have alot of cuts and scratches on our feet
and legs because we were wearing flip flops and carrying people through
rubble and brush. I think we will both need some serious counseling
when we return. As some of you may know, my recurring nightmare is a
giant wave… It is so much worse than I ever dreamed. I stood on the
balcony this morning looking at what yesterday was a pristine beach with
some resorts and cabanas, it’s rubble as far as the eye can see.
Apparently we were right at the center of the tsunami disasster and PHi
Phi was hit on both sides, so the entire main area is basically gone.
So many missing children. Toys everywhere. It’s unbelievable. Gene
and I are just grateful we are alive and unhurt. Unfortunately, we had
bought everyone great Xmas gifts, and they are now somewhere in the
Andamen sea along with my cell phone and the rest of our stuff. But we
are alive and together and unhurt.

A nice German couple let us shower in their hotel room in Krabi and now
we are just trying to get back to the States as soon as we can.

Please forward this to anyone who may be worried about us. Hotmail is
down right now and I am a bit flustered and can’t remember all the
e-mail addresses I should and may have typed some wrong. Thanks and we
will keep you posted. Steve please let the department know that I should
be back to start classes next week, but just in case… Faye

Amazing. Peace be with you all and continued prayer and reflection on this tragic event.

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