Surviving the Tsunami: Stories of hope

Of the plethora of content on the web dealing with the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and its aftermath, one of the latest comes from the Thomson Reuters Foundation called Surviving the Tsunami – Stories of Hope. Of the four stories on the site, framed by compelling photography, one is from a fellow Sri Lankan. This is the second multimedia initiative from Reuters I have featured on this blog. The first was Bearing Witness: Five Years of the Iraq War, an excellent visual narrative of war in all its visceral reality.

Initiatives such as this visualise interesting aspects of both the disaster and its aftermath. For example, Surviving the Tsunami – Stories of Hope clearly flags aid pledged for Sri Lanka for recovery, much more than the actual cost of recovery.

Actual cost of recovery

Actual cost of recovery

Aid pledged

Aid pledged

It’s this discrepancy that has given rise to serious concerns of corruption and financial misappropriation five years after the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

I like initiatives of this nature not just because they are well done, but because they inspire others to create similar initiatives on the web to document and bear witness to events and processes important in their lives and contexts. With the power of the free Google Visualization API (which is tremendously powerful even in its present avatar), for example, and just a little technical know how, web initiatives no less compelling than those by Reuters can be created by anyone with a story to tell.

And the world is never short of stories untold.

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