NANFA-L-- off topic-tsunami reef destruction

Nick Zarlinga (
Tue, 4 Jan 2005 17:23:10 -0500

Not sure what to make of this, but I thought that
some may find it interesting.

><)> From: Melissa Keyes <>
><)> To:
><)> Cc:
><)> Subject: [Coral-List] CBS news distortion about
><)> reef damage - Phuket Thailand
><)> Hello, Listers,
><)> This is from a liveaboard dive boat based in
><)> Thailand. Sorry about the
><)> length, I didn't want to edit.
><)> To those of you who saw Ocean Rover in the CBS
><)> News report about coral
><)> damage: do not believe what they are telling you!
><)> We are furious-in-CBS.
><)> One of their producers contacted us and asked if
><)> we could help them get
><)> to the Similan Islands to report on coral damage.
><)> They assured us the
><)> piece would be "fair & balanced".
><)> We did everything we could to assist the CBS news
><)> team and they spend
><)> half a day filming and interviewing people on
><)> board Ocean Rover. One of
><)> our clients kindly gave them his underwater video
><)> footage for use during
><)> the broadcast. CBS promised our client that his
><)> footage would be used in
><)> a responsible manner.
><)> Our Cruise Director Hans Tibboel described one
><)> specific divesite in
><)> Surin Island with the words: "it looked like a
><)> giant sandblaster was
><)> used". Again, Hans was describing only one
><)> divesite and made positive
><)> remarks about the actual lack of damage-in-other
><)> places. Of course, the
><)> CBS editor used the "sandblast" soundbite and
><)> hardly anything else.
><)> Footage was also arranged in a "before & after"
><)> method that is not
><)> consistent with the real situation. All the
><)> beautiful "before" footage
><)> shown by CBS was actually filmed AFTER the tsunami.
><)> Somehow the media just cannot help themselves and
><)> turn everything into a
><)> gloom & doom story. CBS should be ashamed of what
><)> they did here. We have
><)> talked to their producer since but of course she
><)> blames the New York
><)> editor. This is the way the media works. The way
><)> the news piece came out
><)> is 100% the opposite of what was promised to us.
><)> We urge fellow dive
><)> operators to be very careful in dealing with the
><)> media. These people do
><)> not let scruples get in the way of a juicy story. Shameful!
><)> The CBS piece is damaging to our reputation and
><)> business. It paints the
><)> wrong picture about the true level of coral damage
><)> in the Similans AND
><)> it makes our own website reports look like lies.
><)> All we can say is when
><)> you dive with us, you trust us with your lives.
><)> When you read our
><)> website, you can trust us to be truthful.
><)> As the Indian Ocean Region slowly stabilizes it
><)> appears that Thailand,
><)> thanks to a more developed infrastructure, is able
><)> to recover from the
><)> disaster faster than placers such as Sumatra and
><)> Sri Lanka, which have
><)> the highest numbers of casualties. But in Thailand
><)> too there are
><)> countless human tragedies, people who lost their
><)> loved ones, their homes
><)> and their businesses. Still, everyone speaks of
><)> pulling together,
><)> rebuilding and surviving.
><)> Phuket, though hard hit on her west-coast beaches,
><)> is in better shape
><)> than Kao Lak and Pi-Pi islands and the clean-up is
><)> well underway. Patong
><)> Beach celebrated New Year's Eve in subdued fashion
><)> with a memorial
><)> service near the beach. In Phuket and Kao Lak,
><)> emergency relief aid is
><)> now in place with no immediate need for further
><)> shipments. In spite of
><)> the overwhelming events, people realize they have
><)> to pick up the pieces
><)> and get their lives and businesses back on track.
><)> Those who call this callous fail to see that last
><)> thing Phuket needs
><)> right now is an economic meltdown caused by
><)> tourists staying away as a
><)> result of inaccurate news coverage. Thousands of
><)> ordinary Thais are
><)> employed in the resorts that are now damaged and
><)> closed. Mass
><)> cancellations would destroy what is left of the
><)> island's fragile
><)> economy. If you are booked for a Thailand holiday,
><)> please do not cancel.
><)> There are many exaggerated news stories about the
><)> situation in Phuket.
><)> Reports about disease, contamination, water and
><)> food shortages and even
><)> "widespread looting" are totally incorrect. TV
><)> footage of the horrific
><)> events of 26 December is repeated over and over
><)> but meanwhile a lot has
><)> happened that is not shown on TV. Everyone is
><)> working hard to return to
><)> some sort of normalcy and tourists are beginning
><)> to reappear on the
><)> beaches. Oddly, the beaches look like they did 20
><)> years ago: white clean
><)> sand and calm seas. Mr Watchara Apornsiri,
><)> Director of the Royal Phuket
><)> Irrigation Project and a Phuket native declared
><)> that the sea water at
><)> Phuket's beaches is clean, uncontaminated and safe
><)> for swimming.
><)> We have received hundreds of messages of support
><)> and we are touched by
><)> everyone's concern. Many of you have expressed a
><)> wish to contribute
><)> money but worry that their contribution will
><)> simply be absorbed into
><)> machinery of some mega aid agency. People want to
><)> be certain their
><)> donation reaches those who really need it.
><)> There are several reputable organizations in
><)> Phuket setting up relief
><)> funds. One such organization is the Rotary Club of
><)> Patong Beach. The
><)> fund aims to supply immediate as well as long-term
><)> financial aid (e.g.
><)> scholarships) for children who lost their parents
><)> in the tsunami. You
><)> can make a donation
><)> Similar accounts are being set up by other clubs
><)> and individuals. More
><)> details as we learn them. No matter which fund you
><)> support, make sure
><)> you supply your details so you can be kept
><)> informed about what was done
><)> with your kind donation.
><)> Nick Zarlinga
><)> Aquarium Biologist
><)> Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
><)> 216.661.6500 ext 4485
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