Heads In The Sand
Whilst the red and white flies at half mast throughout Indonesia there is indifference, if not downright callousness elsewhere.
Tony Blair, one of the leaders of the 'Free World', waited until yesterday before offering his prayers
. Thanks, Tone.
The British Foreign Office has updated its travel advisory
- We advise against all travel to Aceh, which is currently under a state of civil emergency, some parts of Maluku, especially Ambon, and some parts of Sulawesi, which are experiencing civilian unrest.
- The west and north coasts of the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia were hit by a large tsunami on 26 December, resulting in widespread flooding and damage. Tourists should avoid travel to these areas. This specific advice is in addition to our general advice against travel in Aceh because of security concerns.
" ?? The 'state of civil emergency' has been lifted and there is a truce between the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government. The Province of Aceh is now under central government control, with SBY spending much of this week there and VP Kalla
is co-ordinating efforts in Jakarta. "Foreign diplomats and volunteers, including doctors, social and humanitarian workers and engineers, have been given clearance to go to Aceh,
" Kalla said. A visa-on-arrival can be obtained at Medan and Banda Aceh airports.
As for the civilian unrest elsewhere, Christian and Muslim communities in Ambon are working together to collect basic supplies and funds.
Elsewhere, in Phuket
tourists are intent on not missing their holidays.
Four days after the tidal wave hit, normal life has returned to much of Phuket and surrounding resorts such as Patong. The 'girlie' bars are reopening, the bazaars selling rip-off Rolex watches are busy, the tourists are streaming off flights and on to the beach.
The only problem ... were delays caused to commercial passenger flights by the unprecedented number of aircraft landing at the airport. The congestion is due to aid flights coming in and planes bearing the dead, injured and badly shaken out.
Back in Britain, my online friend Inspector Sands
is disgusted that the UK Daily Mail focuses on the deaths of three members of Lord Richard Attenborough's family.
"And now, foreign news - famous British man loses three members of his family, 69,000 foreigners also die
To give the Mail some credit, its online version
does devote 238 words (only?) to its lead story: Tsunami disaster toll nears 100,000
But it's not just the Brits who are self-obsessed. According to Tim Blair
, some Pommie-bashers have been given too much attention in the press.
Sydney couple Dave and Joanne Ali were on their honeymoon at Phutong Beach and were just getting out of bed when the first wave hit. Joanne Ali says they felt abandoned because many other countries were evacuating their nationals from the devastated region.
The pair - who, unlike 24,000 others, are not dead - were able to leave on their scheduled flight home.
And good riddance.