Who to Better Understand?

Not many people can truly understand what happened to my beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast when Hurricane Katrina smashed into it on August 29. You have to see it to understand the magnitude. But you also have to live down here and live through the aftermath in order to better understand. Perhaps those in Indonesia who lived through the devastation done by the tsunami are the ones who can best understand. I can understand the damage that was done during the tsunami but cannot comprehend the 230,000 lives that were lost.

It is fitting that nine Indonesian survivors and recovery experts will be visiting two areas that suffered a great deal: D'Iberville and Pearlington. Both of these Mississippi small towns had 65% or more destruction.

The Indonesians are coming to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery, to share their knowledge and to learn more for when they return to a region still piecing together tsunami-struck communities.

Dr. Sari Mutia Timu, a general practitioner who was one of the first doctors in Banda Aceh after the tsunami, will be among them. So will survivor Muhammad Nazif, an Acehnese man who now oversees the credit union and small farming in his village.

"These nine from Indonesia will have a better level of what's happened here than volunteers who come from New England or elsewhere in the U.S. who haven't experienced the same level of magnitude, even though they may not speak the same language or have the same cultural background," said Kathryn Renton, manager of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Volunteer Village in D'Iberville.Sunherald

We had the benefit of evacuating before Hurricane Katrina hit. The Indonesians did not have that luxery. Hopefully, that has now been remedied. You cannot stop the walls of water but the technology exists so that all can evacuate, whether it's a hurricane or a tsunami.


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