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BBC News
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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January 2005, 15:08 GMT
Your experiences of Asian disaster
Residents in Lhokweumawe Indonesia search for their missing families among the dead
Readers of the BBC News website have been sending in their own experiences of the Asian tsunami disaster.

Use the form on the right to send your stories. You can also send your photographs or video.

This is the second page of comments received:

My husband, My kid and myself were driving along the coastal line by our car. Then we saw lot of people gathered at the beach, which has gone to sea expanding the beach area. Some were running along the coastal line too. We asked what happened, they told sea came to road, then we just thought it may be a common thing as we experience in small tidal waves at times in coastal line and just drove ahead. Then suddenly twp men came running in from of the vehicles told us to turn! Then we turned the car hoping to enter a by lane headed to land side. Lots of people had very confused emotions where no body knows what to do next! At the very spot we are entering to the by lane we saw the strike more than 10 yards height just 100 metres away from us! We were lucky to escape since the spot where we were should be little bit far from the sea, but it may delay less than one minute for the huge strike to come there too. Before long, mothers came crying, losing there small kids at their very eye sight floating to the sea! They were unable to hold them since they haven't seen them to grab under the water.
Ruwanthi Senarathne, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Being in Phuket for the 48 hours of the tsunami was an emotional and draining experience. So many people lost their lives in front of our eyes. I have put my story and that of other on to a weblog: http://phukettsunami.blogspot.com Rick
Rick Von Feldt, Singapore

I just want to make one comment, BBC, CNN are covering very little of Maldives. There are hundreds and thousands of our loved ones whose life has been totally devastated. The eyes of interantional community is at those countries which is been shown on TV. We mourn the loss of our brothers and Sisters, we mourn the loss of our neighbours and all those who have been affected by this tragedy.
Ali, Male', Maldives

Ive been staying in Krabi island, for over a month now,i was planning on going to some of the worst hit islands, I'm so very lucky I didn't, I've helped out clearing up etc & have given most of my clothes to the hospitals, my heart goes out to all the people who have lost there lives...Fate? Do I believe in it ??I do now¿
Barry mckee, chatham kent (u.k)

I must thank every one of the media correspondents for the comprehensive coverage on the tsunami. In these times of need i only hope that the much needed aid and supplies are distributed to the needy in a timely and proper manner and hope it is not prey to corruption as it has been in the past in our country to all the affected people my prayers are with you
Suraj, Bangalore India

Although the number of death keeps raising in Aceh, there is some good news coming out of the area. Isolated for 5 days, the first plane has finally arrived at the island of Simulue, west of Meulaboh, even closer to the epicentre. We heard only a few people have been killed. They've been spared Life, because from generation to generation, folklore and reminder are being told that if an earthquake happens, no matter what they all should run to the hills... All of us in Jakarta thought that if news comes out from another remote areas, it'll be news of devastation and death. Today, we can give a little smile and thanks God for His Generousity to the people on the island (where maybe nobody have thought about before)...
Alexandra Chassty P., Jakarta, Indonesia

Thank you the British people for the time, money and effort you are spending to send aid to our part of the world. And thank you India for being the first to send help to us Maldivians and our neighbouring countries despite the fact that you had to take care of your own also. Despite this huge tragedy, we also come away with this thought that there is hope yet for humanity when we see the enormous outpouring of grief and aid from those untouched by tsunami even.
Kambulo, Male, Maldives

To Percival, Re: Diego Garcia. Reports I have read indicate the people on Diego Garcia were alerted to the incoming tsunami and were prepared for it. No word on destruction...
Stanton, Washington, DC

We cannot comprehend what has happened. We watch through our little windows on the world and imagine, but we cannot imagine reality without seeing with our own eyes. My heart goes out to everyone who has been touched by this terrible disaster and I only hope that aid and support can be delivered as soon as possible.
Kara Milenkovic, Cleator Moor, Cumbria

I am proud that my country's public is donating money, and the government sending military help and money. However, would it not be wise for an organisation to be set up so that the public can send practical things to the affected areas? My heart goes out to all those suffering from this terrible disaster, and I pray that things may only get better for you.
Rachel Jones, London, UK

On the street in New York City, everybody is talking about it, in disbelief, in sympathy and understanding. natural disasters can strike without warning. preparedness is the responsibility of governments. That is what we pay them for, not their pomp and ceremony.
Isaac Indik, Tarrytown, NY, USA

I have been amazed by the generosity of the British people £32 million and counting. They have goaded the government into matching our donations.
Jane Clements, Loughton England

I managed to contact some friends and colleagues in Sri Lanka yesterday and they are safe and well. However one colleague survived in Ambalangoda near Galle by climbing on to the roof of her home, clutching her baby son, with 7 foreign tourists. I have been unable to contact my friend, Latha Alwis, in Kalutara and I fear for her life. I have worked in schools which are situated close to the beaches in the disaster area and it is so fortunate that the closure of schools for the December holidays has prevented greater numbers of children losing their lives.
Janette Smith, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Some people have said that an early warning system would have helped, but opinions on this topic do differ. With the widespread devastation over such a wide area and the inability of seismologists to contact countries in SE Asia, does anyone know if the islands in the Chagos Archipelago were affected, namely Diego Garcia.

The United States may not give the most money, but we will spend the most resources in the form of aircraft and ships delivering aid. That is how we can help the best, using our military capacity to carry hope instead of destruction. Give as to your ability, few other countries can do the heavy lifting, so it is only fair that they give more money.
Shawn Hampton, Colorado Springs, CO - USA

We are so grateful to the British people who have come forward to help the tsunami victims in a big way. They have outdone all other governments and particularly a country which love spending on destructive weapons and destruction of other countries. May God bless the British people who are already blessed with hearts of gold.
S.H. Moulana, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Richard Bradbury spent Christmas in Singapore, so is safe and well.
Caroline Bowden, Colchester UK

The events of one morning changed thousands of peoples lives forever. I have donated the amount of money I earn in a morning at work to the relief fund - not a huge amount but I have bought someone a house. Please everyone, donate just a mornings income, from kids with just Saturday jobs to footballers earning thousands. Every £ helps.
Jacky Stevens, Woking, England

It has been said on the news that public response to this tragedy is amazing...as if it's a surprise.... I'm not surprised in the least!!! The British spirit always comes to the fore in a crisis but the reason this disaster has touched so many of us is not only the magnitude of the devastation or the immense loss of life but the fact that it could so easily have been us! This is not a situation on the other side of the globe that doesn't affect us, there are families from all nationalities and religions involved, any one of us could have been on the beach that day, or lounging by the pool....and any one of us could be heading home ALONE!!! I know the British public's response is amazing.... but the reason behind it isn't!!! Please give whatever you can, to whatever organisation you choose.
Mandy Benton, Nottingham, England

I am proud to be a member of the British community who have so far donated £32m for this disaster with more to come. However, a lot more help will be required to prevent further deaths from disease and hunger as well as rebuilding lives some sort of normality. I appeal to citizens of EU, USA, Japan and other countries rich or poor to do more.
F Liau, Nottingham

My family (the Anand Family) who live in the Andaman Islands have rung my mother to say they are all ok but there is a huge amount of devastation on the island.
Mala Oakes, Harlow, England

What I have seen, read and heard about the wave is totally shocking. My heart grieves for all the affected people and I wish to urge every person with a conscious to stand up and be counted by helping the affected countries through donations and other means. It's devastating and the whole thing leaves a lump in my throat every time I see pictures of the damage.
Webster Chongo, Lusaka, Zambia

I feel guilty to be alive to have seen thousands of our children dead. I keep asking myself in what way I could have helped.
S.V. Maheswara Rao , Chennai, India

Here in Mauritius, we had no warning that anything was happening - no news alert, radio, nothing. The sea came up about 100m up the beach here in the north where I live, not waves it just rose. People swimming found themselves out of their depth. Luckily for us there has been no loss of life or injury. If this was the effects here so far away from the epicentre of the disaster, we can only pray and try and raise as much money for the people who have lost everything, their lives, homes, family, possessions, animals. Please everyone who reads this donate what you can, be it financial, or whatever, but make an effort for the people who need it most. This disaster has touched people in many countries, people of all religions and nationalities, we must do what we can.
Kirsty Daby, Mauritius

My brother lives on the Thai island of Koh Samui. Thankfully having managed to contact him on Boxing Day morning we have confirmation that he is ok. Apart from rough seas the island seems to have escaped anything more serious. Every time I watch the coverage of the tsunami I find myself in tears at the thought of how close my family came to being touched by this terrible disaster. Whilst I am obviously relieved and very thankful that he is ok, my heart goes out to everybody else who hasn't had the good news that I have. My thoughts are with you all.
Tanya Cameron, Lydney, Gloucestershire

Me and my wife along with my colleagues family were in Penang on Saturday and Sunday morning. We left Penang on 26th December at around 945am. My wife was insisting to stay one more night; but we did not let my colleague leave alone driving.... We stayed at the beachside hotel at Batu Ferringhi. When we arrived Kuala Lumpur, we heard this horrifying news; we were just lucky to leave Penang; otherwise we must be at the beach during the attack and only God knows what could happen to us.
Abdullah Al Faruq, Kuala Lumpur

Can the world have a comment from the Muslim world leaders as to exactly what they are doing to help their Muslim brothers? Australia was very fast in, as was Japan, the UK, Europe and America - all countries hated by Muslims, yet when there is a disaster these countries immediately help.
Richard Turland, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It is amazing how the Maldives coped so well relatively speaking, given perceived vulnerability. Nature's architects are smarter than we thought.
Liusha, Maldives

This is a horrific tragedy, and has been brought sharply into focus by strong media coverage. It saddens me though, that such a disaster attracts worldwide aid and media effort, but I don't see the same coverage or aid, for over 1 million people EVERY year who die of malaria. Time for a new year re-think on global aid policies I believe.
Gary Thompson, Hastings, UK

In the light of the Tsunami disaster I am curious to know how much the worlds overpaid, under worked celebrities have donated to this disaster. It always seems to be the humble public out there that will donate, what they can, to help people in need. Respect to the British public for raising what they have in support. If 20 of Hollywood start to donate $1milion that would have a great impact and would hardly dent their pockets - it may however mean they don't get that new Ferrari...shame !
Colin, South Africa

I'm extremely worried for one of our tribal groups: Sa Lone. They are the sea gypsies. Their home is the Andaman Sea. The whole tribe may have been wiped out by the tsunami. The Burmese government does not have a credible census of them.
Zaw Lwin Oo, Singapore

I agree with the gentleman in Maui. It is an embarrassment that our so called President had to be forced to make a comment on the disaster. US media largely underplayed this story for the first two day because there were few US casualties. Our contribution in cash so far amounts to a couple of hours of killing in Iraq during an illegal war. Just take a second to think what all those UK & US troops could achieve to help people now. Tony - maybe this is your escape route.
Gavin, San Francisco, USA

I am from Kent and have been working in Penang for just over a month. My boss and I were very lucky to get some tickets for snorkelling for xmas day in Pulau Paya near Lankawi on Saturday, instead of the Sunday which would have been the case if two people didn't change their mind at the last minute. We would have been in the midst of the tsunami if we had gone on Sunday as planned. As it happens I was in my hotel room on the 34th floor of all places and could not comprehend the shaking of the building...I can almost still feel the sensation.

There's very little you can do and most of us rushed out as best as we can. Penang has never experienced anything like this and luckily didn't take a direct hit as the Sumatra landmass prevented any waves hitting us, but still it was unreal seeing water stir up and successions of waves coming in and out for several hours. My wife also phoned from Bangladesh near Asam. They had also felt the earthquake. Seeing the devastation and how close we are to the epicentre, we can count ourselves very lucky indeed. I have travelled in many of the affected places and feel devastated for all the people by the last few days events Ataur, Penang
Ataur, Kent

I was at a hotel restaurant in Penang with my wife and 20 month son when the waves hit the sea wall. I have taken a video of the waves coming to the beach. I wish some one could show this to the people to educate them to evacuate. It took 2 minutes for the waves to hit the beaches in Penang. Some of the 66 people who perished might have been alive today had they run inland upon seeing a danger wave.
Peter Louis, Putrajaya

My sister and her fiancé were two of 11 survivors on a tiny island near Phuket. What happened was extremely traumatic, they lost so many friends. A rescue boat got them out after 3 days. They had nothing except their beach wear and they lost all their documents and had little or no food or water in 2+ days. On arrival in Bangkok they went straight to the British Embassy, which was shut!!! They went to the airport and eventually got a plane to Perth without passports etc. They were interviewed by TV crews at Perth airport who also kindly gave them money for food and drinks. Could we try and get this embassy to open or remain open at this awful time when British nationals need help so desperately? I am shocked and hope no British national who needs help from the Bangkok Embassy is greeted with closed doors. My sisters name is Katerina Giannoulatos and her fiancé Glen From Stockport Cheshire.
Stavros Giannoulatos, Prince George Canada

This is from the neighbour of a friend of my cousin. It's a firsthand account of the tsunami in Thailand:

We were sitting on a wooden long tail boat with about 15 other tourists ready to go to Phi Phi Island for 3 days. The boat is All of a sudden, the water receded and we were moored in the sand. The tide had gone out instantaneously. We were ordered to get off the boat and grab our bags. We looked right and saw a massive wave heading to a nearby cove. The boat staff screamed to us "Run, forget your bags, Run!". We turned to look at the sea - and it had swelled so big that it was picking up and smashing sail boats in front of us like toys. A Thai man grabbed my bag and me and ran me down a walkway. I felt like I had lead in my feet. My head and body didn't agree about running!

After the wave subsided, we stopped running. We headed back toward the beach to find our friends. It never occurred to anyone that it wasn't over. But then we heard the words "RUN RUN RUN" again! A second, bigger wave was coming. I was terrified, didn't want to stop and thought we would certainly die.

We headed high into the jungle and waited for about 6 hours - waiting for the next wave to hit - and it never did. Or at least it didn't reach us. We ended up leaving that evening, catching a boat then a taxi to the Krabi airport. I don't know what one does with experiences like this - I haven't processed it all. The hotel we were going to is gone - obliterated. It is now being used as a helicopter landing pad.
by Stephanie, sent by Sabado, Wailuku, Maui

I am a teenager who has asked his parents to donate to the relief fund. They have not, but I hope they will. I am told that Britain is donating twice as much as the US. I think this is a shame. After a few thousand people died on 9/11, people from all over the world sent help, funds, and sympathy. One would think that the US would return the favour to the rest of the world. In this disaster, the number of people who have died could populate a good-sized city. I beg my fellow Americans to be unselfish for once and think about the thousands upon thousands of people who are experiencing intolerable grief and pain. And thank God for the people who have helped.
Jon, New Jersey, USA

In response to Jason Wu, Madison, WI - I am saddened by your feelings that Americans are not deeply affected by this enormous world-wide tragedy. This has been the primary topic of conversation amongst my co-workers, family and friends. I have not talked to one person whose hearts do not go out to the loved ones of victims. The news stations in San Francisco are doing an excellent job of covering this catastrophe and informing viewers of how they can donate. Let's avoid anti-Americanism and focus our energy, time, and charity in helping those in need.
Shelina Garza, San Francisco, CA

My brother Stefan runs a resort on the Maldives, Kuredo Island. The resort is OK, no big damages and all the tourists are well but other islands have been hit very hard and too many people lost their precious lives. I do not understand how this could happen? Between the moment that the earthquake happened and the wave started approaching the different countries and reached the shores of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Africa there would have been enough time to inform these poor people. Some of the islands on the Maldives have been literally swept away. Why did nobody let them know? Many lives could have been saved. Our prayers go out to all these people that have lost their lives and their families and friends. God bless you all!
Marie-Christine Kossich, Tokyo, Japan

It breaks one's heart to see so many innocent lives (young and old) perished in such a short period of time. It shows how indiscriminate this disaster has been. There are scores of nations rich or poor, affected. I just hope this will be an important lesson to the peoples of this fragile world that we should all live in peace and learn to appreciate and respect our fellow human beings, regardless of colour, gender or religion.
Michael Goh, Melbourne/Australia

My parents are in the Island of Little Andaman in the Indian archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. I have come to know from some survivors arriving at Port Blair that my parents are safe and will be soon in Port Blair. I still don't know how they are surviving in the island. I hope to talk to them in the next few days. Thanks BBC for the timely reporting from the islands.
Samsudeen, Burlington, Vermont, USA

My parents are in Thailand on a holiday. I heard about the earthquake not long before they sent me a text message saying they were okay. They were all set to fly to Krabi, where the disaster was about to hit. My sister had text them telling them not to get on the flight. My Mother told the airline that she would not get on the flight and so thankfully they stayed in Bangkok. They felt rumbles from their hotel but were extremely lucky. I am terribly thankful, although very upset after reading and hearing stories of other people
Katie, Cambridge, England

I live in the capital island of the Maldives, Male. There was an earth tremor felt around 6.30am and then around 9.15am the sea rose by around 1m and flooded over the sea walls around the island. Around 50 Maldivians have lost their lives but in general the country has been extremely fortunate when compared with the huge losses of life and massive destruction caused in our neighbouring countries. According to what we hear, there are around 25,000 homeless people now mainly accommodated in schools in Male and most tourists have now been evacuated. The airport is open and any islands are intact which seems nothing short of a miracle. Undoubtedly, it is the coral reefs which have saved the country. As the country is 99% sea, when the tsunami waves hit the Maldives they were filtered by the channels and reefs and their effect was, thus, diffused and much less devastating when they did hit land.
Naseer, Male, Maldives

I spoke to my friend Capt. Ciril Jayamanne who is coordinating aid delivery to people in the Eastern sea board of Sri Lanka. They have no means to get to the victims as roads and bridges are completely washed out. The only way to get there is by air and the air force and army only have 5-6 helicopters. Right now, what SL needs most is helicopters to take the aid to the victims. Fixed wing planes are no use, the air strips are complete wiped out. Please help!
Dhammika Karunanayaka, Los Angeles and Colombo

We are a family from Kandy now residing in Colombo. On the morning the tsunami struck my 18 year old daughter went to her class close to the beach and my wife and I went to see a Catholic Priest in Dehiwala near the beach. We did not know that the first wave had hit the back of the house. Later when we came out we saw people running to the main road which is in a higher elevation. When we reached the road we asked a running woman why they were running. She said that the sea was flooding the land. Then we looked at the beach and saw the water flowing in. I felt so guilty that I could not go back to drag the priest with us. But I was able to contact him by phone and warn him. By now my wife was panicked and was calling the two children. Then the fear hit me as well. We were fortunate to be reunited with my son and daughter safely. But the whole country is like a funeral house.
Jayantha Dissanayaka, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

I see some messages from people asking about the situation in Bentota, Sri Lanka. Although we were on the south coast when the tidal waves struck, I later spoke to people who said the area was bad, but not as bad as the south or east. The particular hotel we had stayed in earlier in the holiday, Club Villas, was apparently lucky and not a drop of water got inside. Other hotels positioned nearer to the beach were more severely affected with the ground floor being totally devastated.
Madeleine Lees, Stansted, UK

My parents were in Phuket when the waves struck and for 24 hours I had no idea of their whereabouts and was frantically calling the emergency number to no avail. The best phone call in the world came in the early morning of the next day when dad called to ask whether I'd seen it on the news! They were the lucky ones, dad was saved by a Thai lady (bless you) telling him to run the other way otherwise he would have been heading for Patong market where they are taking out scores of bodies. They spent time on the roof of the hotel until the water subsided when they moved to the mountains for safety with others who had been separated from loved ones.

The Thai people were fantastic and heartfelt thanks from my parents and I go out to them for their generosity and support throughout - including the young law student at Phuket airport who helped them with their form filling and the young men who accompanied them at the airport. I didn't think I'd see them again for a short time - mum's limited mobility means she could not have run for cover like they all had to. Now the coverage of people frantically searching for their loved ones makes me cry - it could so easily have been us.
Cheryl Davies, Wigan, England

Our tiny Sri Lanka presently holds the sad distinction of being one of the worst affected countries of this mammoth catastrophe. In less than an hour, more than an estimated 30,000 living breathing people, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons became mere statistics of a horror story that numbs the mind. The country and the world watched in disbelief as Mother Nature unleashed her furies on the hapless inhabitants of south-east Asia. As the magnitude of the reality started to dissipate the stupor of disbelief, we realised that our concerns must be with the living, rather than with the dead, lest they too perish. Our initial, and frustratingly small, contribution to this effort took the form of distributing more than 3,000 kg of assorted dry goods, clothes and medicines as well as a thousand canisters of drinking water to the regions around Galle and Weligama.

Under the leadership and untiring efforts of Alefiya, 35 or so of us gathered in five lorries and six support vehicles and departed for the devastated south at 03:00am on the 29th. Although we had mentally prepared ourselves for the devastation ahead, the sheer horror and magnitude of reality was almost beyond our ability to comprehend. The once bustling and beautiful coastline has been reduced to a nightmarish wasteland of shattered trees, mangled vehicles, collapsed houses, and bloated corpses. Corpses which are still being dug up from the debris are disfigured beyond recognition. There will be no private farewells for most of these, the beloved ones of somebody. There are too many. Most will be interred in mass graves, ignobly covered by bulldozers, lest the unidentified dead contribute to more death. Some of the survivors wandered around the wreckage in a daze whilst others already set about the horrendous task of picking up the pieces with grim determination.
Asanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka

One of my friends has lost 10 family members and another friend lost his parents. It shocked me all over my body when I saw and realised how big this tsunami was.
Mukesh Kumar, Liverpool/India

I am an Indonesian living in Khao Lak, Ohang Nga, Thailand. Khao Lak Merlin Resort, where I work, has 209 rooms and luckily we only lost 12 rooms, compared to the other hotels. It's a miracle, they lost almost all of their buildings. I saw the tsunami and I saw the affect and all I can say is, just, wow. Look what water has done to us.
Eddy Waluyo, Khao Lak, Thailand

I have just driven around the resorts of Kata, Kata Noi and Karon. I am amazed at the speed of the clean-up here. The beaches are now clean, as are the roads, and the majority of bars and tourist businesses are open again.
Tom Bishop, Chalong, Phuket, Thailand

The ones we did not see getting any help or aid were the smaller children
Srivatsa, Chennai, India
I was in Chennai at the time and I visited the areas and distributed some aid that we as groups could. The ones we did not see getting any help or aid were the smaller children. They do not have the ability to speak out or say anything. Also they cannot come near aid trucks that distribute aid simply because they are small and could get hurt badly. Getting near an aid truck is a matter of being able to muscle your way there physically as well. Sometimes no one is there to take care of them if they are suddenly orphans. They live off of whatever mercy others have for them. We all need a concerted effort to fix this as soon as possible. The children are the most vulnerable in this situation.
Srivatsa, Chennai, India

In today's reports, some Sri Lankan and Indonesian survivors of Sunday's tsunami are reporting no help or aid from their own governments. Can anyone tell me that I am correct in reading this and if so, why on earth have these governments not responded. Obviously these regions are desperately poor and communications difficult, but there seems to have been little international coverage of what these governments are doing. Can anyone inform me?
Louise Hunt, England

I live here and I can categorically state that while many, but not all, of the beaches are terribly damaged, Phuket as an entire island is not! Some news agencies are sensationalising what has happened to the point of lying, and careful video or photo editing ignores areas just out of shot of life pretty much going on as normal in most of the province. Some perspective, please.
Calire Adams, Phuket, Thailand

Eleven of us were travelling by speedboat to Phi Phi in Thailand. One minute we were sunbathing and snorkelling and the next we were literally running for our lives up the shore in the midst of yells of, "Big Wave, Big Wave" and shouts of, "GO, GO" from the Thai guides and drivers. First a seething mass of broiling water crowned by a white crest came round the shore from one direction. Seconds later another white wall rounded the other side of the island, the waves surging towards each other. This was the first wave and it sent speedboats flying across the tops of the waves like matchsticks. The wave left as suddenly as it came. Ten minutes later the Thais who had been surveying the damage to their boats, now well inland, started racing along the shore gesturing frantically and yelling, "Again. Big Wave. Come Again."

Hearing the roar of water above their cries we were forced this time to scale a cliff that was at times almost vertical. The young Thais have to be commended for their kindness and generosity to us in the following 24 hours until we were rescued. Although they too thought that they were facing imminent death, their first concern was our wellbeing and safety. We had to climb and descend the cliff a total of three times, many of us in bare feet, due to the rumours of another tsunami approaching. The Thais ensured that all of us, from a five year old child to my mother of over 60 years old, got safe passage. We are truly grateful to all the Thais who endured the experience with us on Bamboo Island, especially Sam from Barracuda Tours who is still searching for his sister who was on Phi Phi when the wave struck.
Temmy Maclean, Hong Kong, originally Glasgow, Scotland

We are charging people £10 a head at our private New Years Eve party and donating the proceeds to the Tsunami appeal - please publicise this idea so others can do the same.
Rachel Dackombe, Beverley, UK

Both my brothers live and work in Thailand. My older brother Jamie, 30, was going to the coast for Christmas with his Thai wife Noi, the first break he's had for years. I last spoke to him on 23 December and he hadn't decided which beach he was going to. My younger brother Lewis hadn't made his mind up if he was going. We hadn't heard from them all over Christmas so became more and more worried. I spent three days on the internet searching through deceased lists and posting pictures and messages regarding my brothers and Noi.

Then yesterday at 4pm Jamie phoned my Nan. He had been trapped in a hotel in Phuket. He and his wife were in an air bubble in their hotel room for hours in the pitch black. Jamie only suffered four broken ribs and Noi only suffered from shock. The people in the hotel room next door died. Jamie said you couldn't move for dead bodies. My family and I are all so pleased that they are ok. I am now doing a collection at work to help as much as I can.
Michelle Finch, London, UK

Here in Mauritius we were blessed. I however disagree with those who say that an early warning system may have helped. How can you inform the entire coastal population about the tsunamis in the space of two hours? Impossible. Some tourists here took some convincing that they should evacuate the beaches after the danger became apparent.
Bhoomika, Mauritius

The day the tsunami hit, I was on an island in one of the outlying atolls. I saw the sea swell up, flood inshore, the boats anchored at bay snapping away and literally floating away. Then it receded as fast as it had come and whole areas of the sea that no islander has ever seen exposed before was there right in front of our eyes! By the mercy of God, the island I stayed on bore little brunt of the force of the waves. However, the majority of us have not been so lucky. There are horrific pictures on television, whole islands literally swept away, in ruins, and people with dazed looks in their eyes.

Since the tsunami stuck, the government has been trying its utmost to reach the outlying islands. The rough seas make accessibility difficult. Communication has been severely affected by the surge of the waves. The tsunami has directly affected 300,000 Maldivians - ie. the entire country. Every community in the Maldives is self-sufficient in the sense they have their own schooling, health, water and sanitation, electricity, telecommunication and other such basic services. Now all this has been destroyed. There are no homes anymore, only debris.
Mariyam, Male, Maldives

I am a 19-year-old in Taiwan who is helping to coordinate a fundraising campaign in my local church and related organisations. I want to make an appeal to young people around the world: you can do something in response to this devastating disaster. Give your time and money, no matter how little. Together we can bring more people to play a part in helping those in need. My heart aches for them. Time is running out for many; we need to act faster!
Elaine Ko, Taipei, Taiwan

I was on the beach in Coral Island (one of the offshore islands between Phuket and Phi Phi Island) when the waves struck. There were three waves in total, and they completely washed over the beach, washing into the hotel and entering the local village. The waves were not as large as the ones in Phuket and Phi Phi (maybe because the beach was facing north). When we got back to Phuket, we saw fishing boats thrown and smashed onto roads. The restaurant where we had dinner the night before was also destroyed.
Philip Chan, Auckland, New Zealand and London, UK

I know about 10 people that were in Phuket, Thailand, when the waves hit. Amazingly, they all survived. 80,000 people wiped out already, with tens of thousands more to die from disease in the coming days and weeks. The drug companies should donate medicines - simple antibiotics. That would save a lot of lives.
Marius Askildsen, Kristiansand, Norway

Our friends were washed into the sea and one could not swim. His wife had to hold him up on several occasions. While they shouted for help people stood on the piers and filmed. We were penniless and without shoes whilst people from the same hotel sat next to us in the airport flagrantly eating burgers and chips and drinking coke. Local suffering Maldivians appeared infinitely more humane handing out vegetables and what little provisions they had.
Dr Dominic Smethurst, Derby, UK

I was vacationing at Chennai at 0900 my bed shook for about two minutes. The curtains were shaking. There was an earthquake somewhere. Nothing unusual, I thought, and dozed on. Then I heard on BBC radio that there had been a big quake off North Sumatra. How stupid not to consider the consequences. I was due to go boating in the sea but was late. Just about to leave the hotel, my neighbours started screaming. I went outside to see the water at the top of the wall, surging along at about 10 knots. Two minutes later the boats were going the other way. The sea dried up in 10 minutes, sucked out. It was time to grab some gear and seek higher ground. I was lucky. The relative shelter of the hotel's crumbling sea wall saved me. Thank God.
Winston D'Souza, Baroda, India

Having recently returned from Sri Lanka I count myself very lucky to be alive and grieve for all those who we met who only had days to live.
John Oliver, Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone, UK

When I saw this I knew that thousands of people were gone. I cried in my living room, I wish I could go there and help. I wish I could bring some of those children here. They need help.
Loree McCain, Mountain Home, Idaho, USA

I have spent the last three days hours in front of the television and just cannot believe that so many people have to face such a horrifying disaster! My heart goes out to all of you and I hope and pray for your missing loved ones to be found alive!
Hardy, Sundern, Germany

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