Project Kasih has been doing a fine job in helping rebuild Aceh after the December 26 tsunami. Its members have visited the province many times to assess the situation and provide aid donated generously by the Malaysian public. There are images and tales of survivors, the devastation and on-going reconstruction projects.
Among Project Kasih’s notable efforts, the highlights of children orphaned by the killer waves is most heartrending. Those children not only lost one or both parents. They lost their homes and all they ever possessed as well. It was difficult enough for adults to get on with their lives after the disaster. Imagine how nearly impossible it is for these little ones when practically everybody in that region is affected as well. If you have money to spare, I encourage you to donate to Project Kasih. This cause is as worthy as it can get.
While those tsunami survivors are struggling against an uphill battle to rebuild the broken pieces of their lives, here in Malaysia, we are waiting for a disaster to happen and have no contingency plan to manage it. Raja Munir who visited me and saw for himself the situation around the compound of my apartment and wrote about that in Project Kasih. We shed a tear or two when we read about the misfortune of the Acehnese. In reality, we should be shedding tears for ourselves for continuing to expose our own to known and preventable risks to disasters.
The local authorities and government are indifferent to the potential dangers. Developers and building managers could not care less about the human lives other than fattening their bank accounts at the expense of apartment owners. Access for fire engines and ambulances into high-rise apartment compounds are often hindered by haphazardly parked vehicles and illegally constructed structures. Local councils refuse to act. While we cannot avoid natural disasters, we certainly can prevent and reduce the risk of manmade tragedies, if only the people who can make a difference care enough. But they do not. We never learn. Life is cheap. It really is.