January 01, 2005

SMS dispatches

I've been sending some SMS dispatches to ChiensSansFrontiers as we travel through tsunami Tamil Nadu. Here's a compendium of the first few dispatches.

***

In Seepudupettai, overlooking huge pile of old clothes flung around a statue of Annadurai and men sitting on the clothes eating bread. huge stench from rotting rice.

***

CD at the bottom of stagnant pool, pile of invitation cards to N Thangaraj wedding, boat slammed into a home, bleaching powder where there were bodies. Seepudupettai five days on. Giving a side to two women and kids going to next town for food.

***

Once-French Karaikal, cops with kepis direct traffic above three blue boats flung contemptuously at a bridge. One Senthilnathan pees below. On one boat, a bulb is still intact.

***

Collapsed hut in front of me in the wasteland outside NAGAPATTINAM, two bodies on top more under. We are about to burn them. Bonfires in the setting sun, periodic pop as something explodes in the fire. Behind me a sex-less baby in a carton and another sprawled nearby. Stench almost unbearable.

***

Elsewhere in Nag{apattinam} destruction is like a fantasy. Boats small to huge flung together like toys, a few trucks in there too. Boats flew over houses to land in town breaking roofs on the way. Houses burned while burning bodies and sadly also to be looted.

***

Body burners in Nagapattinam are running out of fuel and resort to using any small amounts they find amidst the dead families. Meantime a helicopter sweeps overhead, twice in the time we spent with them, showing some exalted visitors the sights in this wasteland. Why not give the fuel or money to the effort to do this sad work? your guess is as good as mine. But there are a lot of bodies out there, now rotting.

***

She lies there, brown and faceless, flies all over her. Am I a voyeur because I notice the swell of a breast on this pitiful form and know she was a woman? The earth mover lifts her gently but she slides off at the last moment because the nets she is tangled in pull her back. Happens twice then she slides into her grave. Finally at peace? But I am dejected. From Nagore.

***

Vailankanni is still an immaculate church but the beach is a smoky smelly crow-ridden twisted poles and planks kind of place. Pilgrims had gone out to the beach that morning and laughed at the suddenly much higher waves. Initially. Then they ran. The men ran. Some 800 died, mostly women and kids. Photos up in the church. You do not want to see them. But there is a prayer service for them all day every day.

2 comments:

William said...

Great blog you have here I will deffinitely be back, I have a website that is about restoring wooden boats

http://www.classicwoody.com/ : complete wooden boat restoration guide

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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