Tsunami victims are in desperate need

This truly is the season for giving, not because of any holiday but rather because the people of the world are in dire need.

As most of us have watched or read about, tidal waves caused by an earthquake under the ocean floor in Southeast Asia caused devastation in 11 underdeveloped nations on Dec. 26. About half of the dead are children, ruining futures for families already living in or near poverty. Jan Egeland, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, has said that the economic loss for these poor nations is in the billions of dollars.

While it is hard for us to imagine such staggering casualty numbers, it is the following accounts I have read in news reports that gave me insight into how truly unfortunate the situation is for victims of the tragedy.

A tourist on his honeymoon in Thailand reported: “There was a couple standing in the foyer just checking in when this thing just hit — and that was it — that was their holiday, just wrecked straight away. One poor mother’s baby got pulled out of her arms — they never found the baby. There was a father who couldn’t find his wife or son — he ended up with broken ribs. We finally found the mother, but his son was never retrieved. And a lady in a wheelchair just couldn’t get away — I think she got swept away.”

A British tourist in Thailand reported: “There were people holding on to trees and holding on for dear life, really, because you get caught up in that rush. You could get pushed into anything and everything. I mean people were cut everywhere, cut across the face. Now I know why so many people died.”

Look into your hearts and give to those who are truly unfortunate and suffering now. While you can donate money, and it will be put toward a good cause, raising awareness so that others may provide is even more important.

I am donating $100 I planned to use toward my tuition at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Please find it in your hearts and minds to contribute in some way. New Jersey groups currently collecting supplies and donations include New Jersey Buddhist Vihara, (732) 821-9346 or www.helplanka.org; Hindu American Temple and Cultural Center of Marlboro, (732) 972-5552; and the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey, Princeton, (609) 951-8550.

Miten Shah