This morning our speaker Jim Holmes presented us with a photographic account of the effects of the 2004 tsunami on Banda Aceh, which took the full force of the wave.
Jim has been a professional freelance photographer for 35 years working across the world depicting humanitarian projects run by Oxfam, the United Nations (UNICEF, WHO etc), Save The Children and many other organisations.
The 2004 tsunami was the largest natural disaster in modern times and a quarter of a million people died, which was the largest loss of life outside of world wars. It was no wonder then that Jim was commissioned by UNICEF to document the emergency phase of the relief effort as well as the recovery, and he was there on and off for 4 years.
The photographs chosen showed not only the effects on property and landscape but also the local residents mucking in to rebuild their homes and livelihoods in conjunction with outside agencies.
The human toll can be imagined but Jim did not make this a feature of his talk, but instead gave us a realistic idea of how our donations to these large humanitarian agencies are used.