Saturday, 17 May 2008

Taking a moment to think of others

This week has been momentous in my profession. And for reasons I wish were different.

It is two weeks since Burma was ravaged by Cyclone Nargis and the extent of the disaster is still emerging. Now we have some news about our friends and colleagues there and send all strength and wishes to tackle the immense tragedy of the disaster and moreover, its after effects.

In the midst of images of the carnage in Burma which were challenging us in our comfort, the news of the earthquake in Sichuan started to break. Now, 6 days after the disaster there I am stunned by the images of the devastation and the extent of the loss of life. In the coming weeks we will begin to understand what this means for families not just in terms of loss of life, but how on earth to begin to rebuild homes, livelihoods, communities and to deal with the intangible losses. Even though I have been inside a building which was damaged during a major earthquake (the earthquake of December 26 2004), I cannot begin to imagine the terror and fear of the people who lived through this horror.

My friends and colleagues are working round the clock and in conditions far beyond the comprehension of many of us in both of these emergencies. Their dedication and professionalism is both inspiring and humbling.

All those affected by and working in these disasters should be in at least our thoughts, and preferably our actions.

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