Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Monday, January 03, 2005

More importantly

I'm still trying to get to grips with this Tsunami. It's about an order of magnitude bigger than any disaster I can remember.

Newsreaders look stunned by what they're telling us, and we just can't comprehend the scale of this thing that's happened. In this country we're arguing over who can give the most because numbers (£60m, 125,000) are something we can pretend to understand. But we really can't make sense of something like this, and the minute we start to glimpse it it becomes overwhelming. Even Krishan Guru-Murphy lost his composure presenting the Channel 4 News Special (slightly).

Mother's neighbours are Sri Lankan. They lost a lot of family out there, as a lot of other people did. All we could really do was to pray, but it doesn't seem like that worked.

It's really amazing how everyone's got behind this fundraising effort. We can't make sense of it, and we can't go out there and help, but all of us can donate money to the people who can really help, and that's a start. And I'm asking every visitor to the site this week to donate something to the Disasters Emergency Committee .

I suppose we're all hoping that this is a short term thing; we'll give money, Tony Blair will come back from his holidays and say the right things, and everything will come back to normal. But we're coming to realise that it won't be that easy. Those 125,000 aren't coming back, and there's entire communities which just don't exist any more. And for those left behind, getting back to some semblance of normality could take years. This emergency aid is a brilliant start, but we all need to be in this for the long run, and I don't think any of us know how that's going to happen. But we've got to do it.

In the meantime pray for those people if you can. And definitely give some money.


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