Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Monday, April 10, 2017

The pain and sadness in the air

A woman gestures amid the damage caused by mudslides following heavy rains in Mocoa, Putumayo department, southern Colombia on April 2, 2017. People attend the mass burial of the victims of a mudslide caused by heavy rains, at the cemetery in Mocoa, Putumayo department, Colombia on April 3, 2017.

MOCOA — It’s really, really hard to watch the survivors and their pain and trauma. There are many people who have lost six, ten or more relatives. Not to mention friends, neighbors and acquaintances who also died. Out of all the things that I have covered — the armed conflict in Colombia, protests, mine collapses — this is by far the hardest.

You smell the overpowering stench of dead bodies, you hear rocks cracking, machines working. At times you hear weeping, at times you hears screams, when people see the body of a relative or of friend. And there is a heavy blanket of sadness and pain that seems to envelop the entire site. Sometimes a burst of joy, when people are reunited with their loved ones, pierces through the sadness.