Season of giving
According to the CBS Evening News, the count of the dead in the Indian Ocean vicinity is estimated at 59,000 and could rise. When I try to put that number in perspective, I think of the town where I did my grad school -- the population of that 'little' town is 60,000. Entire families, livelihoods, possessions, everything, all gone in a blink of an eye. The water has receeded now, but because of the widespread destruction and loss of human life, the danger isn't over yet. There is little in the way of potable water and there is lack of sanitation in general. The bodies are rotting in the tropical climate and there is a danger of disease outbreaks.
Many relief agencies are banding together to help. Some say this will be an effort that will take billions of dollars and years to overcome. Some of these countries -- the Maldives, for instance -- are difficult to get to on a good day, and now it's almost impossible. These agencies need money more than they need donations of clothes or other physical items. If you are interested in helping out, check out the list of agencies mounting relief operations here. They will accept as little as $5 -- which for those of us in the US equals to a cup of coffee and biscotti at Starbucks.