An assignment from ENGL 105 at UNC, among one of the more moronic of their universal requirementsread more
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake devastated primarily
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand .
We will focus our effort on India.
A 9.2 earthquake and the consequent Tsunami which reached heights of 30m (100ft) left
an estimated 18,000 dead in India alone.
The Tsunami resulted in a colossal destruction of housing and 650,000 displaced.
A primary effort must provide adequate housing for the displaced individuals.
An anthropological point of view does not result in the suggestion of any particular guidelines
with the exception of separate housing for Muslims and Sea Gypsies due to the region’s “sensitivity to cultural diversity”.
The Muslims warrant separation on a religious basis
while the Sea Gypsies on a class basis.
From an epidemiological standpoint it is entirely necessary in this makeshift housing effort, as in any, to provide adequate spacing between tents to minimize the spread of diseases,
especially diseases prevalent areas with fecal-contaminated water, such as cholera.
The existence of these diseases are highly probable because of Tsunami’s destruction of a barrier between waste and water sources.
Another high priority is providing food to the affected areas.
An enormous concern of the relief effort is to provide beef free products.
This a concern because the predominant religion in India is Hinduism
believe that the cow is a sacred animal and should not be consumed in any way.
This is likely the most important anthropological recommendation that can be provided.
A secondary concern with regard to sustenance is renewability.
While this may be nearly impossible to provide, renewable food resources or utilities in order to allow self-sufficient food collection such as fishing gear for those near the coast would be ideal
because instant relief could be provided to those who didn’t have a renewable option.
These must be provided from outside sources because it is estimated by the UN that 66% of the fishing fleet and infrastructure was destroyed by the Tsunami.
Due to the fact that the Tsunami rendered previously arable land sterile by depositing a layer of salt on the surface, it is not recommended that seeds be provided as a main source of renewable food.
Clothing is another resource that needs to be provided to the affected peoples of India.
It is acceptable for donations of clothing to be taken,
but it is essential that shorts not be donated to those in India or Thailand as it is not acceptable for anyone to wear shorts in public areas in these countries.
Likewise, modest attire should the only clothing donated as it’s unacceptable for people in India to display very much skin
(so long pants, long sleeve shirts, etc).
If possible, the traditional Indian dress called a “Sari” may be donated by manufacturers or directly from individuals.
Because of the ease with which Saris can be made, large and long (on the order of 3-4 meters) pieces of cloth may be donated as they can be used to construct Sari’s once shipped to India.
As for burial traditions, it’s important to Indians that deceased members of their family be buried.
Although this is something that’s important, it may not be necessary that attention be diverted from things like food and water in order to provide this comfort.
However, burying the dead does reduce the possibility of a rampant epidemic.
It’s important that neither inhabitants of the affected land nor the relief workers drink the public water after a disaster such as this.
It’s important for the foreign relief workers because even in normal conditions, the public water contains substances that would cause illness to them while the natives have grown tolerant.
And in this circumstance it’s important that the natives don’t because this water would have likely been contaminated by sewage and other waste transported by the Tsunami.
Because culture and anthropological understanding is essential to maximizing relief effectiveness, it’s important that the committee heed this advice.