I’m sitting here watching the news of the devastating tsunami that has ravaged Southeast Asia killing thousands of people, as well as people some 4000 miles away in Eastern Africa. Everyone has gone to bed and as I watch the constant repetitious news on TV I feel very sad knowing that the region I visited in India back in November was one of the worst effected places. Thousands of people in Tamil Nadu are dead, many of those I met in the poor villages we visited will certainly be among the bodies that are being counted in the worst natural disaster of modern times.

I feel particularly sad because the villages I visited were already desperately poor. The purpose of my trip was to start an effort to raise corporate awareness of the terrible poverty in that region of India, and encourage large food organizations to give money to aid agencies working with the poor and the needy to build education and agricultural systems that could help them claw there way out of the desperate conditions they lived in.

But as night fall here on the West coast of the United States the huge operation of counting and identifying the dead in Tamil Nadu is taking place. There are thousands of people unaccounted for, whole families simply swept away. The smiling faces of the children who so enthusiastically greeted me in the poor gypsy villages will surely not be smiling tonight. And as those memories continue to flash through my mind I can’t help but wonder how many of them will have perished in this most tragic demonstrations of the wrath of nature and the frailty of human life.

I feel so sad for these people and everyone effected. Years of relief work and social restructuring work by the charities I was visiting with, have simply been washed away. For the survivors the peril ahead is now the very real possibility of disease epidemics as the already scare water supplies are contaminated by the salty tsunami waters that are awash with dead bodies, dead animals and millions of tons of debris.

It seems wrong to worry about any specific people, but learning that the tsunami reached as far inland and claimed lives in Turanevelli, the city where we our hotel was, has made me wonder how the disaster may have effected those people who so kindly played host to us while we visited that region. At this time we have heard no news from them. They are impossible to reach, I can only hope this is because they are among those who are helping deal with this tragedy, and not among those who have lost their lives.