Indian Ocean Tsunami - Maldives:
A Tsunami / Surfing tale with a different twist
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 January 2005: - - Hiyam is from the island of Malè, capital of Maldives. 1,190 islands make up Maldives but only 202 islands are inhabited. Different from any other island in the country, Male is a city of high-rise buildings and paved roads. There are no beaches on Malè; instead seawalls surround all its sides.
When the tsunami hit Maldives, twenty islands were completely washed away and many more were severely damaged. Malè was able to survive the tsunami because the seawalls protected there island but there still was a lot of damage. There was no power on the entire island for 48 hours, phone lines were dead, the airport was completely damaged, and every thing was flooded.
Hiyam was in the United States with her sponsor family when the tsunami hit. In June 2003, she met a man by the name of James Matheu while they were both surfing off the shore of Malè. James had a son that wanted to attend Embry Riddle to become a pilot but unfortunately passed away in a car accident before he was able to do so. When he met Hiyam she told him, I want to become the first female seaplane pilot in Maldives.
James then decided to use the money that he and his wife had saved up for their son to come to Embry Riddle to make Hiyams dreams come true. James and Hiyam stayed in contact for two years through email. Finally on Dec. 18, 2004, she came to the United States.
She stayed with James and his family until the spring semester began. Hiyam did not hear about the tsunami until the next day when her friend called to give her the news. When she first heard about the disaster she said, I was so scared and nervous. I tried to call home but there was no communication for two days. Hiyams entire family lives in Malè and for 48 hour she did not know weather they were alive or dead.
Two days later she received a phone call from her parents, which gave her tremendous relief. All her family members survived however she said, My house was flooded and every thing was damaged. It is going to take a long time for them to recover from the tsunami. The whole city is said to have gone back twenty years.
Her family now lives in Maldives without a home so times are rough. I am home sick, she says, I miss them and wish I could help them through this tough time. But, I am also very thankful that I have been given the opportunity to attend this University. Hiyam talks to her parents twice a week and to James and is Wife every day. James has treated me like his own daughter, and is always there for me.
Many other survivors of the tsunami have lost everything they own. All they have is a tent to keep them dry and what provisions that have been donated thus far. If you would like to help families like Hiyam Afeefs there are many organizations that are presently accepting donations of clothes, canned food, and other non perishable items.
Organizations such as American Red Cross, Save the Children Fund, and many others can be found on the internet which are collecting donations. Embry Riddle is also having a collection to donate to the tsunami disaster victims. At the on campus book store you can donate a dollar which may not seem like much but will be greatly appreciated.
Tsunami Relief - Surfersvillage