Savannah Residents Reflect on the Tsunami One Year Later. - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/26/2005

Savannah Residents Reflect on the Tsunami One Year Later.

It was exactly one year ago.

The deadliest natural disaster in recent history struck Southeast Asia: a tsunami that destroyed thousands of miles of coastline, and killed almost a quarter million people.

Here in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, a lot of people worked hard to help in the aftermath of the tsunami.

It didn't take them long to get involved either; people all over our viewing area started raising money and even travelling to the most effected areas within days.

"It was just amazing, the support," says Sri Kanthan, who helped raise money for the Martin de Porres Society, "From five dollars to thousands of dollars. Every dollar count for us."

Dozens of people were organizing to send aid to Southeast Asia from Southeast Georgia.

Kanthan says, "I thought we might get $20,000 to $30,000. I did not expect we'd get close to $200,000."

Lakshmi Subramaniam agrees: "It didn't surprise us as much as it overwhelmed us."

Subramaniam was also raising money for tsunami relief through the India Association. She and other members cooked up a curry dinner benefit within days.

"So if it was ten dollars, people were giving 20 dollar donations, 50 dollar donations -- so that's how we were able to raise a lot of money quickly," she says.

Both fundraisers funneled the money directly to the people who needed it most, and the important thing is that their fast starts didn't subside.

Kanthan was back in Sri Lanka less than two months ago, and he says there's still a lot of work to do. "Definitely the debris has been cleaned up," he explains, "But people's homes have not been repaired."

And even with Hurricane Katrina stealing headlines as the year went on, Kanthan says the wave of support for tsunami relief hasn't washed out.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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