Earlier today, we posted a first-person account from tsunami eyewitness Sanjay (aka "Morquendi"). He's a blogger and TV producer who lives and works in Sri Lanka, one of the areas hardest hit by the disaster. Throughout last night -- as he participated in emergency rescue and relief efforts -- Sanjay text-messaged live observations to his co-editors at the collaborative blog ChiensSansFronteres. Snip:
# I'm standing on the Galle road in Aluthgama and looking at 5 ton trawlers tossed onto the road. Scary shit.
# Found 5 of my friends, 2 dead. Of the 5, 4 are back in Colombo. The last one is stranded because of a broken bridge. Broken his leg. But he's alive. Made...
# ..contact. He got swept away but swam ashore. Said he's been burying people all day. Just dragging them off the beach and digging holes with his hands. Go..
#..ing with gear to get him tommorrow morning. He sounded disturbed. Guess grave digging does that to you.
"We now have two bloggers on the ground in Sri Lanka. Morquendi/Sanjay is recruiting more bloggers for us. Sri Lanka is mobbing. India is not. No reports from Anadaman and the south so far, but that's probably because traditional media already has access. Here's the latest SMS post from Sanjay in Sri Lanka:
There's 1600 bodies found by the LTTE in Mullaitivu, in the Eastern Province, so far. They are not allowing any journalists in till rescue operations are done.
I'm going absolutely insane with the mail that's pouring in. I need more hands and ears and eyes, preferably attached to a human being. BlogVolunteers invited to help us.
Rohit's blog-mate Peter Griffin says:
For anyone volunteering to blog at tsunamihelp.blogspot.com (help the group post information), contact Rohit Gupta (email@example.com), Dina Mehta
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or me (email@example.com). And on ChiensSansFrontiers (http://desimediabitch.blogspot.com/), we've got first person accounts going from Sri Lanka at the moment. Anyone else who'd like to provide first person accounts from anywhere in the region is welcome. Mail Rohit or me.
Among the eyewitness reports on this group blog, "Lastnode" in the southern city of Matara in Sri Lanka writes:
Just thought I would present some snapshots for the rest of the world to see the real situation in the south. The State run media (if you can even call them media anymore) is presenting a rosy picture of a Government coping well with the issue. Here are snippets from my notebook.
27th November 2004 10:30 AM, Matara Fort / Town: Two men carry a body in from the now calm sea. Hundreds of locals swarm around, trying to identify the boy. Wearing dark blue shorts and a faded red t-shirt, he can't be more than four or five years old. His eyes glazed, he stares at the onlookers. His left skull is fractured, but there is no blood running. The crevice stares ominously at me, a reminder of the untamed power of the sea.
In the Fort, the courts complex is in pieces. Cops stop us as we try to enter the Lawyer's quarters. They're scared as well. Confused. Just orders to sit and guard the place from looters. Former Minister and UNP MP Mahinda Wijesekara's room is gutted, tangled sea weed hanging on his name board. A sign perhaps of the inactiveness of all Politicians. Sure, they're doing something. But, IT'S NOT ENOUGH.
(...) At the mass graves, we watched as bodies were lifted out of vans. No records of death. Only one Policeman on duty. No law. No order. Just people burying the dead. Body after body. Shovel after shovel. All along the Galle Road the destruction just made me numb. The media footage delivered by our FREE media brothers and sisters out there tell the truth. But they don't do the real carnage justice. No, not at all. You have to see with your own eyes bodies by the road. Unknown bodies. Stinking so much you feel the need to wretch. You have to see with your own eyes vans stuck on trees. Trawlers on the main road. Broken bridges. You have to see the power of your sea. And you have to be humbled.