The Web      Powered by


Return to Transcripts main page


More Problems Appearing After the Tsunami Disaster

Aired January 8, 2005 - 13:00   ET


HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I'm Hugh Riminton coming to you live from Beruwala in southern Sri Lanka. Thanks for joining us for this special report on the tsunami disaster from the field. And what a dramatic day it has been. From Indonesia today, the first confirmed account of child abduction, a vulnerable child being stolen out of a refugee camp. We'll have that story in this half hour. It is one of, one of a reported hundreds of child abductions that have taken place. We'll be looking at that story.
It's also been a day of fear in Sri Lanka, largely because of the work of an influential astrologer here. He's the man who predicted, so he claimed, the tsunami in the first place. He said another one would strike today. For the skeptics it might seem like a lot of mumbo jumbo but it was being taken very seriously and there are a lot of tense and nervous faces around Sri Lanka during the course of the day, I can tell you.

But the most incredible news, this is a breaking piece of information comes from Galle, the hard hit city in the south of Sri Lanka. They have discovered a survivor. He's a man aged about 60 years old. He was found buried beneath rubble by people who were clearing away debris from that extraordinarily battered town. They dragged him out. He was semi conscious. They took him off to a hospital. He is apparently suffering pneumonia. He has a broken arm. He was severely dehydrated. He's been put on a drip. Doctors say that he is barely conscious.

He has given his name, but only his surname which has been given as Mitracina (ph). They say it is impossible by any kind of medicine that they know that a man could survive in that condition for 13 days without food or water. They say it's either a miracle or just an extraordinary story, the full details of which are yet to be told. But that is the breaking news just coming out of Galle in southern Sri Lanka as we go to air.

Also emerging more of that videotape, eyewitness videotape and perhaps of all the scary pieces of vision that we have seen that was shot by some of the holiday makers, this stuff from Thailand, it gives you a full idea of the power of this extraordinary wave. It was coming ashore at Coracha (ph). It's an island about 45 minutes by boat from Phuket Island and you can see that just as it's approaching the beach, people get up. They run. They flee for their lives. They have a sense of that incredible danger.

The wave strikes engulfing the beach, engulfing the people who were attempting to run away, engulfing much of the resort from which this vision was shot. And that gives some idea of the appalling power of this wave. And bear in mind, this is more than a thousand kilometers away from the epicenter which gives some idea of what the people in Banda Aceh and along that Sumatran coast must have confronted.

Well, that was the disaster and the cause. What about the aid and recovery effort? The U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is continuing his tour around the region. He is in Sri Lanka. CNN's diplomatic correspondent, United Nations correspondent Richard Roth has been following Kofi Annan around. Richard, what was he up to today?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hugh, Secretary General Kofi Annan got very close and personal with those who had survived the tsunami, but lost loved ones and their homes and livelihoods. The secretary general toured the town of Hambanato (ph) in the south of the country, 4500 people reported dead there, 20,000 injuries and then later in the day, he helicoptered up to the central and south part of the country the Chernkomoli (ph) district.

This is earlier in the day down south. He got a briefing from local officials. They used charts and you saw information on a screen there. The secretary general asking questions. What would it take to get the homes rebuilt? Do people want to rebuild and live near the water. Many people he talked to around Sri Lanka today said they were very fearful of the water and returning there. Many of these communities he visited were fishing villages and accompanied by the World Bank President James Wolftonson (ph) and the prime minister of Sri Lanka.

Annan and his wife also met with various refugees, those who were temporarily displaced. Men crying in the arms of the Annans, children, though, still smiling. And you see children here taken care of by UNICEF. There's the prime minister of the country on the left. Introducing secretary General Annan at a location where a Buddhist temple shrine withstood the force of the waves. This was a scene repeated throughout Annan's visit today.

He was in a helicopter for more than five hours in travel time getting a good look from the air. What he saw in Indonesia I would say was worse. This was Indonesia on Friday. And, he saw complete obliteration of towns. Here in Sri Lanka, the coastline, he saw damage but the death toll obviously much more in Indonesia. The Secretary General Annan having dinner with the president of the country. There will be a press conference Sunday and then he's off to the Maldives as he continues his journey of various affected communities from the tsunami. Back to you, Hugh.

RIMINTON: Richard, diplomatic travel is almost by definition usually a fairly dry affair. This is plainly totally different circumstances. Did you get any impression that both Kofi Annan himself and also the refugees, the people that he was meeting, that this was an encounter of personal importance on both sides today?

ROTH: Well, I think it was very important for the people who have lost their homes and family members. They seem genuinely affected by the visit of the secretary general, many waiting in the hot sun for hours for his helicopter to come in. Then there was a huge dust storm because the helicopter kicked up all of that in the - upon landing. And, I think they were pleased to see that the world cared.

But again, it's very sad. One woman was crying in front of the Annans and then the crowd moves past her. The Annan -- the security delegation and many government officials and you just wonder what does she think because this crowd is not going to be back tomorrow and as the secretary general has himself said, it could take 10 years for a lot of communities to recover. The Annans seem very touched and saddened by what they saw.

I was going to ask the secretary general, didn't get a chance. Most of the time he's visiting people who have been affected by war and have been run out of their communities and are living for years in refugee camps. This time, it was a major force of nature.

RIMINTON: Richard, thanks very much for joining us. Richard Roth there traveling with Kofi Annan as he makes that visit to Sri Lanka and no doubt something that he will not forget.

Now the United Nations is active in other ways as well. The U.N. world food program has declared that it is setting up food deliveries with the intention to keep food supplies up for next six months. Here's the world food program's James Morris.


JAMES MORRIS, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: It's our plan to have food resources available for people who have been victimized, harmed for six months. My hope is that as the months go along, we'll convert the use of some of that food to food for work programs. Where we will make food available to enable families or communities to rebuild their lives, rebuild their communities.


RIMINTON: Well, food, of course, is critical. Health is just as critical. In Banda Aceh, the devastation was so enormous that hospitals were wiped out as much as so much of the rest of that provision capital of Aceh. Mike Chinoy is in Aceh of course. He reports on a hospital that is being rebuilt so that it can try to withstand the demands which will inevitably come in the months ahead.

MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Banda Aceh had two functioning hospitals, one civilian and one military. They have been so overwhelmed they have had to turn patients away and that's why this hospital, Zanuabudeen (ph) hospital, has become a focus of activity. This hospital was badly hit by the tsunami. The water was really a river of sludge about as high as my waist and even now, nearly two weeks afterwards, they're still having to clean up sludge that inundated the entire ground floor of the hospital.

Those are Indonesian troops over there shoveling this dark, gray, black muck that is coating the floors of all of the rooms. It destroyed equipment. Clearly anybody who was a patient on the ground floor here wouldn't have had a chance. The Indonesians have also been pulling out beds, cupboards, equipment. There are big piles of antibiotics and syringes coated in mud trying to clean this place up. It's an international effort. There are Chinese experts here, Germans, Pakistanis.

U.S. Navy Seabees were in surveying the hospital the past couple of days and beginning to clean up process. And the Australians have arrived and they have set up a tent, a field operating theater that will begin operating tomorrow. They'll be able to do almost all kinds of major surgery. There still are some patients in the upper floors of this hospital, but the hospital has not been able to function the way it used to, obviously. And so getting it back in operation is considered by the aid workers here to be a very important step in terms of meeting medical needs of a still hard-pressed people.

RIMINTON: Now let's go and take a look at the issue of child protection, one that's becoming increasingly fraught with difficulty. One that is as emotional a subject as it is possible to get in this tsunami disaster and its aftermath. In Banda Aceh, there has been he first confirmed case, this is from UNICEF, the first confirmed case of child abduction. The boy was a 4-year-old, known only as Roger or identified only as Roger. He was in a hospital in Banda Aceh. A couple turned up. They claimed to be the boy's parents. That would seem to be a happy ending. The boy was released into their care and he disappeared with that couple. However, they have apparently been caught. The boy has been retrieved by an Indonesian child protection agency.


TRANSLATOR: There were two or three attempts at the hospital by others claiming to be a relative of the same boy. But fortunately, we have our representative at the hospital and we reported this case to the police until such visits finally stopped.


RIMINTON: Now, this is exactly what's been warned of in the last few days, of this pernicious process of stealing children for a variety of uses. A variety of means, all of them illegal and all of them utterly immoral as hardly needs to be stated. Carol Bellamy is the executive director of UNICEF. She joins us from London. Carol Bellamy, you have warned of this. It cannot be any surprise now to see it happen.

CAROL BELLAMY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: Now, it isn't any surprise. I think some of the reports that have come, frankly, are not substantiated, but what needs to be put into place to prevent something like this from happening is very important.

RIMINTON: So what does get put in place?

BELLAMY: Well, already in Indonesia, for example, the president of Indonesia has decreed that for the time being, there will be a temporary moratorium on taking children out of the country who come from the Aceh region. Secondly, the chief of police again, I'll use Indonesia as an example. But Indonesia isn't the only country at issue here. The chief of police in Indonesia has sent messages throughout his system saying to be particularly alert at airports and train stations and bus stations.

Third, UNICEF, working with the government and with a number of nongovernmental organizations, is hard at work at this point trying to register children. Let's find out what the situation is, find out if children have parents. If they have lost their parents, do they have an extended family member? Remember these are countries with long traditions of extended families. If children are in the care of truly a family member, they are much better protected.

RIMINTON: What are the apparent motivations for these child abductions? We obviously hear a lot about pedophile rings and so on. Are there other motivations, as well, that seem to be driving or that you're afraid might drive attempted child abductions?

BELLAMY: Well, I'm not sure we know entirely. I would say that we're aware that in the past, long before this horrific disaster, there were -- there are criminal syndicates that have been involved in trafficking. Much if it has been around the issue of sex trafficking. There could potentially now be because the word orphan is thrown around so often, even though we're not sure yet how many children are truly orphaned, there could be some attempt to take advantage of the very well meaning intentions of many people in the world who would like to adopt and, therefore, that's a possible exploitation. We have already seen already an e-mail, if you will, or an SMS (ph) message that was reported to our office in Malaysia offering children from Aceh. Again, we don't know whether this was legitimate or not. But this SMS message did come.

RIMINTON: You seem to be showing an appropriate skepticism about some of the reports that is are coming through. But give us some sort of feel for this. This is one boy who's been identified. Is he just a tip of the iceberg or might it be limited in fact overall to just one or two, a handful across the region?

BELLAMY: Well, let me be clear. We are very concerned about the potential of exploitation, very concerned about the potential of these children who are so vulnerable, but there has been a bit of a jumping to conclusions over the last couple of days in the media that this is going on in huge numbers and I think it is important not to overreact. I think the government authorities are doing the right thing. They're putting into place some protections. It's very important that this registration process in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and the other countries go on. It is important to try and get children reunited with their families, but if there are instances of abuse, it is very important to go in and really make sure that that doesn't continue because these children are very vulnerable.

OK. Carol Bellamy in London from UNICEF, thanks for joining us. It's certainly a story we will continue to watch.

And we'll talk more about in fact child exploitation when we return after this break when we speak to singer Ricky Martin. Stay with us on CNN.


RIMINTON: Coming to you live from Sri Lanka on CNN. Thank you once again for joining us. We're talking about child abduction in the camps in the aftermath of this tsunami disaster, the first confirmed case coming out of Banda Aceh, a 4-year-old boy who was actually taken out of a hospital by a couple who were not his parents, but claimed to be so.

Now million of people around the world are familiar with the singer Ricky Martin. They may not be aware that he had a foundation devoted to the cause of stopping child exploitation for many years. He joins us now from Miami. Ricky Martin, what is that most concerns you about this pernicious business at this time?

RICKY MARTIN, SINGER: Well, this is the biggest problem society's facing at the moment. We are talking about an industry that is moving $7 billion a year. It's something that is happening all over the world. Unfortunately, with situations like this, I'm talking about the tsunami, children become very, very vulnerable. For example, in Thailand, 600,000 children that are victims of the tsunami are orphans at the moment. And these children will be perfect preys for traffickers. Traffickers will abduct them and there will be - these children will be forced into prostitution, will be forced into child pornography and any kind of sexual exploitation. It is really sad. We need to do something about it and that's why I'm here today. I've been working with this issue for many years now. The Ricky Martin Foundation created a project called people for children and this is our mission.

RIMINTON: If we step back, Ricky Martin from this particular tsunami disaster and look at it as a global issue that preexisted the disaster, where are the main flows of children in this exploitation process prior to the tsunami?

MARTIN: It is incredible but it's -- I'm sorry. Can you repeat the question again?

RIMINTON: Yeah. I'm basically, trying to find out if you go before the tsunami, what was the main problem with child exploitation in terms of where the main flows of them.

MARTIN: Exactly, yeah. It's all over the world. Child pornography is the biggest -- pornography and child prostitution is the biggest problem at the moment. A couple of months ago, a child -- a man was arrested in Latin America for paying $10,000 for having sex with a 5-month-old baby. This is something that needs to be stopped. It is really scary. What needs to be done? Well, you know, governments and private sectors need to get together. They need to start working with unity and we need to even probably start to, you know, we need to start creating laws and maybe changing some constitutions out there. It is incredible the work that needs to be done.

RIMINTON: Are you satisfied -- we just heard from the UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy. Are you satisfied that the U.N. and those agencies are sufficiently geared up to provide the protection that's needed in the tsunami region at the moment?

MARTIN: They're a doing outstanding job. I am really happy hopefully next Monday I will be traveling to Bangkok with UNICEF. They are helping me to get together with law enforcement officers and government officials. Of course, I'll be able to be face to face and work with the victims and we need to start educating about this issue. Everybody, everybody's a victim, not only the children but also, us, as citizens of this planet.

RIMINTON: Could this, Ricky, develop into something positive out of this and than it is raised to a level of knowledge that means that people might be more aware of it, more able to stop child exploitation of this kind in the future?

MARTIN: Definitely. I've been working with this issue for two years now and people -- it is such a dark subject that people tend to go into denial. It's so horrible. To even think that a child could be forced into prostitution that sometimes we just need to -- we just want to turn the page and not even think about this problem. Unfortunately, because of the tsunami, unfortunately and or luckily, because of the tsunami, people are aware of this. And you don't understand the Web site has had so many hits these days just wanting to - people that are wanting and needing to inform themselves about this issue.

RIMINTON: OK, Ricky Martin, in Miami, thank you very much for joining us.

MARTIN: Thank you.

RIMINTON: When we return on CNN, we'll have a look at weather around the region as the recovery and reconstruction effort continues. Stay with us on CNN.


RIMINTON: So much work to be done across the tsunami zone. Some of it just seeming to be getting under way in some of the hardest hit areas. In other places, particularly Sri Lanka, if you head on down the road to where I'm standing, the difference of -- that's taken place over the last week or so. The amount of stuff that's been cleared away, the debris, the roads that have been opened is quite staggering that people under such stress should have been able to do so much work to get their lives back towards order. Of course, the weather matters to all of this stuff. We're joined at the CNN weather center by Kevin Corriveau. How is it looking in the days ahead Kevin?

KEVIN CORRIVEAU, INTERNATIONAL WEATHER: Well, Hugh, I can see that the sun is shining on your face which is a good thing right now but unfortunately, we are looking at a possible tropical disturbance changing over to a tropical cyclone over the next 24 hours. Taking a look at the most current satellite picture that we have in the region, you can see this large area of orange. It's located -- this is the island of Sri Lanka right here and you can see that it's located just to the southeast of Sri Lanka. Hugh is located about here where my finger is pointed to. Most of the activity is definitely to the southeast of him right now, but what I am concerned about is that southerly coast, as well as southeasterly coast. Let me show you - I'm going to just step off and show what the joint typhoon warning center has put out over the last 24 hours. We are watching the possibility of a cyclone forming in this area. You can see that this box right here basically has a direction if it does develop, moving slowly up to the northwest.

So this is definitely a concern of ours and we will keep you informed on this in the next 24 hours. I'm going to change my map back for you and show you exactly what we're expecting for precipitation. You can see rain right now is right here on that southeasterly coast. Hugh is not seeing that rain right now. But if he were to travel to Galle and also on that southerly coast, he probably would see some precipitation starting to form here.

Now, precipitation is a factor in this region with tropical monsoonal weather. Taking a look at the water temperature chart, this is very warm waters and we can see the potential for cyclones developing, especially one of the factors is this warm water here. This very close to Sri Lanka. It doesn't really drop off too much as we get to Sri Lanka, so if the storm does develop, it does have the warm water to feed it.

Why are we so concerned? Well, the topography is Sri Lanka is quite low around the coastal regions. Hugh is located right about here in this particular area. But I'm more concerned about this general area right here on that southeasterly coast, a lot of low lying area here. And as that storm pushes up from the southeast, we could see potential flooding all along this coastal region.

Of course, a lot of roads are located right here following the coastline. So, we'll keep you informed on this. It's a definitely significant story for the next 24 to 48 hours and for the rest of the country, though, and also into the rest of the region when looking at Phuket, not too bad with precipitation and a lot of isolated rain showers here for Sumatra for the day or so. Hugh Riminton, back to you.

RIMINTON: Thank you very much, Kevin. We have spoken about children a lot in this half hour. In Thailand, it is national children's day. This is observed every year, particularly poignant this year. There's singing. There's dancing, all sorts of efforts to try to lift the spirits of children who have suffered, been shocked in so many ways over the course of this last fortnight and we're joined by some TV stars, some local TV stars and celebrities to put an extra gloss on Thailand's national children's day.

A reminder that is the site if you want to keep yourself up-to-date with all kinds of details about the disaster and the recovery phase. You can look at the aid pages there which not only tells you how to donate, but also keeps a bit of running total on what sort of donations have come in. If you have made a donation already, that's interesting reading. We have all the latest news on the tsunami, of course, gets posted at that site. And, also, we have places where you can post information -- so many people still missing around the world. If there's someone that you care about, somebody you haven't been in touch with, you want to hear about them, you can post the details there on

All we have time for live coming to you from Beruwala in southern Sri Lanka. I'm Hugh Riminton. Thank you very much for joining us in this half hour. Stay with CNN. Our coverage continues.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Fredericka Whitfield in Atlanta. In the two weeks since in devastating tsunamis ravaged southern Asia, the world is trying to come to grips with the loss of life and the scope of a tragedy that has touched nearly every part of the globe. We bring you this CNN special report, "After the Tsunami, Healing from Tragedy."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know where to go. I can't find her. Her name is Matilda. She was from Argentina and we were in the sea together. And when it went under, she said take my hand. And I said, no. I can't because I knew I couldn't hold on to someone. You can be strong and be on your own and I didn't take her hand and when the next wave came, she didn't come back up. So if I would have held her hand, maybe she would have come back up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's tall and just strong lady and for the moment, she's pregnant, five months so she has the big stomach. And she's really correct and woman and somebody -- when she is somewhere, she make everything to come back to me. That I know.

TRANSLATOR: I want my dad, he wails.

I was crying in the village, she says when someone told me that my son was alive and in this hospital. I rushed here and found him alive.

We knew in a moment that we were going to get killed. I told my daughter and wife to do something to rescue themselves. My daughter said not to worry that she could swim would try to save her life. I think she had tried to do that. When I found her body the next day, it was lying upside down in a swimming position.

I am very sad because I lost my husband. I found my husband wiped out by the water and he asked for help but I couldn't do anything. I just watched him go but two of my kids did survive.

I took my child and ran. But my wife and children got washed away by the sea.

I had three children and two were lost, only one remains.

Please, he said, I hope you're strong enough to hear this news. He said our families are missing. In this land awash in water, no one has time for SMRWatti's (ph) tears. The sea stole her son and also, her mother. A run away train destroyed her home.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you move through the trains, in each car, the smell of decay and of death is still present. It's been a week since the waters knocked this train off. And most of the bodies they say have been cleared away but you can still smell someone died in here.

You don't have to use your imagination to figure out what people were doing the second the water hit. Here's a plate of food someone was eating surrounded by flies. This woman's purse, another one down here. Over here is a baby's diaper, looks like a child's purse.

TRANSLATOR: I could only see my son's face as he was being swept away, she says. I managed to catch him at first but I just couldn't hold on.

My brother-in-law died along with his whole family. Only his daughter escaped since she was somewhere else. We came to see if we could find their bodies since they are still being pulled out of the wreckage.

All the houses in our neighborhood were destroyed. My mother is dead. We found her body near our house.

The sea came up over my head, he says. I wondered, will I see my wife, my sons? Would they become orphans? I swam against the tide never sure whether I'd survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost exactly 10 years ago, he read an article about tsunamis and what he read stuck in his mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a great memory power. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day of the disaster, Munwar (ph) was on the local ferry dock buying fish when he noticed something strange in the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ferry was raising three or -- two or three meters. Then all of a sudden, it was raising, water coming like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Munwar says when he saw the water levels rise, he started running inland. He says that many people shouted after him saying that he was crazy. But he says between 20 and 30 people followed him and he says they survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They managed to get us to be able to scramble across some boats and lowered some tires down that we could, in fact, climb up to the pier. But, the devastation was just astonishing. It was as if it had been bombed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A moment of destruction here in the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka is so, so seriously that it's very, very hard to believe that this could be rebuilt but I think you need many, many years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All houses, anything lost. We are -- we are very -- very sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lost faces of the tsunami. Not confirmed dead but as good as. These are some of the many swept from hotels and beaches in southern Thailand, many tourists. Recovery efforts go on. But the sea may never surrender thousands it engulfed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife and me was running here. And I -- I lose my shoes. So I don't -- I can't follow her. The last thing I see she was perhaps over there. And me, I go behind this pillar here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This very pillar?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was exactly this pillar, yes. And time -- from this moment on, I don't know nothing else. I feel empty. I feel -- I don't know what I do now when I come home, I have to begin a new job but I -- I don't -- I can't do that now. And I feel I'm so -- I lost all these things, clothes, cameras and jewelry but all these things are nothing and have no value. When you see all this -- all these dead people. Because when you -- when you go (INAUDIBLE) you take nothing with you.

CHRISTIANNE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We were going on an outing to the beach when suddenly the train stopped, says Shian (ph). Then a huge wave hit us and our carriage flipped over. I hung on to the luggage rack. That was the last time I saw my mother and my two sisters. And he shows us how terrified and floating in water up to his chest, he clung on until the tidal wave subsided and he was rescued.

It is an extraordinary triumph of survival when so many of the smallest, the youngest, the frailest have perished.



WHITFIELD: Viewing the gruesome aftermath of the tsunami disaster. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said no television picture can convey what really happened. Our special report, "After the Tsunami, Healing from Tragedy," continues with a look at the overwhelming challenges facing survivors.


GOV. JEB BUSH, FLORIDA: Our hearts are with you and we will be with you in the long haul. The American people and our government will continue to provide relief. We'll be part of the recovery efforts as well.

TRANSLATOR: There are lots of NGOs and private citizens in the government who are helping us. They're bringing lorries full of food stuffs to the refuge camps. They have basic health facilities there. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got six other firefighters with me. They're all trained. They understand that it can be pretty grizzly, but we're also ready to help out the people of Thailand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am grateful for this food aid. But this will be inadequate in the long term. We need rice, cooking oil and other kinds of food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the people here, the hungry cases and the suffering. It's just overwhelming. To this thing, we realize (INAUDIBLE) brothers and sisters. If one brother suffers, we also feel the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: to carry the body into the back of a -- not the back to clean the body like -- because the doctor has to take the DNA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We take all -- the bodies now so we finish our work. During this time, our police had to be identification of the rest of the bodies but it's impossible to say how many people are lying there. How many Asian, how many European or American. It's impossible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are lots of Thai people working to build makeshift coffins at the moment and they need to be left alone to do this important work and they're finding it very distressing when relatives are going there to try and identify people that they can't recognize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There. This is me. And this is my sister who pass away four day after the tsunami and this is my young brother, lost. We don't know, missing maybe. I know that they need medicine. Because in this situation, you know, everybody in the hospital maybe -- Twenty years, I never come back to my country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep praying for -- for him and his family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a helicopter which went in first and on them -- when they went near the boat, they were inquiring for food. The moment we were informed we launched our boarding party in (INAUDIBLE) and we rescued them. They were in a very bad shape without water and food, unable to speak and state of shock. After that, one of them was also injured. We had to bring them on board first for five hours we cannot communicate with them because they were totally in shock. And as you can see, some of them have sun burns with no water. They were given all the necessary immediate aid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw - water coming up on the beach. I see another guy out in the waves. It was quite a big wave, about four meters, five maybe. And I said, on the side or shout to said, let's go out there save his life. So I threw myself out in the waves and started to swim to the guy. And when I came to him, he was so panicked. He couldn't swim good, I don't know, so I got this lifesaver. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The force behind the water, you cannot -- if you haven't felt it yourself, you know, you cannot imagine how hard it hits you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As slow as it is necessary, we will not give up. We'll go on as long as it will be necessary. We'll build from the site of the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could take months. You could be here for months?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think it will take a number of years.

COOPER: Some of the animals here have a strange bewildered, dazed look in their eyes. You see them everywhere, stray dogs and cats roaming, searching through the rubble. Trying to find something to eat.

TRANSLATOR: I think there are only about 30 children left, he says. This place was crowded with children. But the water was just too high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe people can get time and talk to them, at least something can be done. But here, time will heal wounds but maybe just talking a bit would help them a bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shock's faded now and everyone's had some time to process the information.

TRANSLATOR: I kept running. My brother saved me. I was crying out to my mother not to leave me. I was praying my sister would be safe. Later, I was told my mother is safe and I found her when I returned home.

TRANSLATOR: It seems difficult settling down again. But I will cover my syllabus gradually. I'm not afraid. Only when I'm sitting alone, I remember everything I have lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have watched their demeanor and they seem to be happy. Just as they were before all this happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the children that are directly affected and are living in these areas that have been hit by the tsunami, the reality is their world is very small. It's their families, their community and when that has become disrupted to the extent that it is now, it is extraordinarily traumatic to children to have their world, in essence, disappear. It doesn't matter whether it's a small community-based disaster or a massive one. What they know is their family's gone for many of these kids and they're displaced.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The children appear to be more resilient to certain forms of future mental health problems compared to adults, but it's very important to provide the child with a sense of stability and security right now during the worst of it, so that the child can incorporate a message that they're going to be OK.


WHITFIELD: Faced with a tragedy of biblical proportions, many tsunami survivors asked why and turned to faith for the answer. Our CNN special report "After the Tsunami: Healing from Tragedy" explores the spark of hope that lights the darkness.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do believe my son saved our lives by sleeping in fortunately that morning, it prevented us, we were all packed up ready to go. But because he slept in, we delayed our visit to the beach.

TRANSLATOR: I haven't thought about what is next. At the moment, I just have to be strong and not give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 500-year-old relic, our lady of Matra. The name of the church, the name of the town disappeared from this case. The statue was found here in debris, about a mile from the church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I feel is that she was with the people, the children. She didn't want to escape or she didn't want anyone to take her and hide somewhere. She went with the people.

TRANSLATOR: I have nowhere else to go. We can only pray to Allah so that we will be all right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a kind of warning for people to think. And when their lives and not to go against the nature or even in the -- we have to live peacefully with everybody and this is a time all coming together and helping each other. So that's the message, the divine message even through this catastrophe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How I could be able to answer all the questions about missing people makes me feel responsible they have like part of my family. I mean, they for sure have to know the name of the spouse (ph). So it -- it more like a family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is -- this is what's left of our hotel room. Our bed was here and we were sleeping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was laying right over about in that spot right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very emotional to see that the father was alive and the grandmother was alive and it's a tragedy that the mother died but we were just so happy for him when we -- when we --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he was playing normally just like normal kid. He had a toy and he kept squeezing it and he talking and I mean, he was not like that the day he had him. He was not talking. He was not playing. He was very out of it. So we were really happy to see he looks perfectly normal again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being pressed more and more underneath whatever structure she was in and then, the water subsided. She was able to catch her breath, had a few breaths and then another wave came back in and did the exact same thing to her and submerged her again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really believe that the hand which is now what, is most severely injured and her leg is what kept her alive because she would have been swept out to sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second day I gave up hoping for them, but in the evening of the second day on the Monday, my mother finally got through on a phone and had survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So nice knowing where she is now. I mean, of course, we're not happy with the turnout, but it's just so nice knowing that she's somewhere safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I have a lot of hope, too. You know, there's been a lot of loss, but I take a lot -- I mean I'm encouraged by the way people have come together, you know, to sort of -- to help each other and work together to pick up the pieces. And to me, that's very encouraging. So I -- I know, you know, we'll pull out of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to think about, pray for -- for other people who have no homes to go back to. We must never forget the people down there.



On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.