Wednesday, January 5

Letter from Arthur C. Clarke Regarding his Tsunami Experience

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

From Sir Arthur:

Thank you for your concern about my safety in the wake of last Sunday’s devastating tidal wave.

I am enormously relieved that my family and household have escaped the ravages of the sea that suddenly invaded most parts of coastal Sri Lanka, leaving a trail of destruction.

But many others were not so fortunate. My heart-felt sympathy goes out to all those who lost family members or friends.

Our staff members are all safe, even though some are badly shaken and relate harrowing first hand accounts of what happened. Most of our diving equipment and boats at Hikkaduwa were washed away. We still don't know the full extent of damage -- it will take a while for us to take stock as accessing these areas is still difficult.

We are encouraging concerned friends to contribute to the relief efforts launched by various national and international organisations. If you wish to join these efforts, I can recommend two options:

- Contribute to a Sri Lanka disaster relief fund launched by an internationally operating humanitarian charity, such as Care* or Oxfam*

- Alternatively, considering supporting Sarvodaya, the largest development charity in Sri Lanka, which has a 45-year track record in reaching out and helping the poorest of the poor. Sarvodaya has mounted a well organised, countrywide relief effort using their countrywide network of offices and volunteers who work in all parts of the country, well above ethnic and other divisions. Their website,

http://www.sarvodaya.lk/

provides bank account details for financial donations. They also welcome contributions in kind -- a list of urgently needed items is found at:

http://www.sarvodaya.lk/Inside_Page/urgently%20needed.htm

There is much to be done in both short and long terms for Sri Lanka to raise its head from this blow from the seas. Among other things, the country needs to improve its technical and communications facilities so that effective early warnings can help minimise losses in future disasters.


Arthur Clarke
29 December 2004

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