Doubly Displaced

Singapore — Hidden within the large story of the tsunami are thousands of individual, dramatic stories of survival. To hear them is to hear both terror and remarkable strength. A young man clinging to a palm tree, climbing ever higher until he settles into the topmost branches–to remain there too injured to move. Finally, after three days he is rescued and evacuated to a hospital.

teenage boy runs to a neighboring house with a second floor. The waters invade
washing away furniture, then walls, creeping higher and higher. Through
inventiveness that he cannot explain, now the huddled families mange to climb to
the rooftop where they wait for the water to

And one hears the sad,
plaintive stories of those who, after doing their most to save loved ones, were
forced to give them up to the raging waters. They live not only with the grief
of loss, but also with the guilt. Such heavy

The Rev. Paul Dirdak told
me of a group in Thailand in the Phu Khet resort area who have been doubly
cursed. They are refugees from Myan Mar, formerly known as Burma. Already
displaced, they had been allowed temporary work permits for jobs in the resorts
that were hard hit by the tsunami. They sent funds back home to families, in
some cases perhaps the only reliable income the family could count on.

The refugee encampments were, of
course, washed away, and they are displaced once again. The jobs they held are
no longer as plentiful. The resorts were heavily damaged or

Twice displaced. Unable
to return to their homeland, now they cannot return to the temporary haven of an
unsavory refugee camp. They face an unknown

The human toll in this
tragedy is an interlocking web of terrifying and sad stories told by those who
are unclear if survival is worth the psychic cost they are paying.

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