November 27, 2005

Stories of surviving the tsunami.

An eight-part article in the NYT Magazine. Sample:
At first, [Sambiyo] thought a ghost might be luring him into the slough. For the past hour, he had been picking up the dead, and the ghoulish task had the effect of a nightmare. Bodies suddenly stared up at him from the water; they hung from trees like branches of flesh. Sambiyo was glad to have his AK-101 hanging from the shoulder of his wet brown uniform. "Brother, please help me," this raspy female voice kept calling. Reluctantly, he waded into the dark water, using his hands to shove aside debris and casting his eyes about in search of the supernatural. As he got close to the woman, he could see only her face and her hair, and they were mottled with mud. He ventured closer, and when he was within a few feet, he realized she was naked.

"But you have no clothes on," he protested.

"It's O.K.," Maisara pleaded. "Just help me."
Vivid fact: "A cubic yard of water - barely enough to surround two people seated with their legs crossed - weighs nearly a ton." Description of what it was like to be slammed by tons of water:
It seemed muddy and sulfurous. It spun her and jerked her. She couldn't see. As she struggled for breath, she gulped some, and it tasted salty and foul. Her arms were useless. Objects struck her, and she felt cut, poked and punched. Something smacked her left eye. Then she stopped, her body upside down, pinned against something flat that she took to be a wall. A car - or what seemed a car - pushed against her and then slid away. Finally, the wall broke apart, and the water pitched her to the surface. She gulped for air. She saw the car, some floating trees, nothing else.

Then there was another wave. And this time it knocked her out.
Much, much more at the link.

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