I would have prefered to have posted this on the "Current Events Discussion" forum, where it would be more appropriate, but as this is my first post to allnurses.com, I don't have that privilege. The current discussions there regarding this tragedy are shockingly petty and trivial, which compels me to provide this group a little perspective about how some of us are more directly effected by this enormous tragedy. I have been lurking here at allnurses.com and reading the threads for a long time, both as a guest and as a registered user.
When the wave hit South Western Asian on early Boxing Day, there were an estimated 30,000 Swedish citizens in the country of Thailand celebrating the Christmas school break, the majority of them in the resort areas of Phuket, Khoa Lak and Phi Phi Islands. These were the worst hit regions in the area. At present, it is estimated that as many as 1500 Swedes have lost thier lives, many of them children, but the numbers could be far worse. 2000 Swedish people on charters are still missing. Backpackers and others who are travelling outside of the organized charter tour agencies can be as many as 10,000 more individuals.
I work at Scandinavia's largest university hospital and we are at this point in time anticipating the arrival of many hundreds, if not more, severely injured and traumatized Swedish families. More than 20 jumbo jets are needed to get people home. Our preparations are intense, to put it mildly.
The logistics of evacuating 20,000 people, many of whom are severely injured and septic, are beyond comprehension. Children have who have lost thier parents are arriving alone at the airport here in snow covered Stockholm in bathing suits and shorts. Mothers and fathers have had their babies ripped out of their arms while frolicing on the beach. Grandparents have been washed to sea and drowned while eating breakfast on the terasses of beach hotels. Thousands of families are separated and people here in Sweden have no idea what has happened to their vacationing relatives, amongst them thousands of backpacking teenagers in unclear circumstances.
The tsunami disaster in South West Asia will be this Northern European nation's worst national tragedy in modern time and we are literally on the other side of the world.
The millions of people of the local populations in the area around the Bay of Bengal have lost absolutely everything
and the situation is desparate. My heart goes out to these people as I prepare myself for my incoming patients.
Thank you for listening and sending a thought to the millions upon millions of human beings that are effected by this disaster.