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Pulling together...
Damaged boat in Sri Lanka
A damaged boat in Sri Lanka
Last updated: 27 January 2005 1612 GMT
line Gloucestershire's Stefan Hopkins went out to Sri Lankan to provide support in the aftermath of the tsunami on Boxing Day. Stefan tells us the story of how one fishing boat was rescued from the ocean...
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Listen to Stefan's story of the fishing boat

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Stefan's audio diary - Parts 1-4

Asia Tsunami Disaster

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Stefan Hopkins
It might not seem much when weighed up against the immense scale of this devastating natural disaster but the salvaging of a single sunken fishing boat turned out to be a wonderful event.

Amidst all the destruction and suffering in Sri Lanka, here was a story of hope and the triumph of human spirit...

start quote We were working down by the edge of the beach and we saw two guys snorkelling about three hundred yards off the shore. When they came to the shore we asked them what they were doing. It turned out that they were local fishermen; they'd managed to find one of their fishing boats that had been sunk and then swept back out to sea. It was about three hundred yards off the shore.

quoteThe fisherman was crying.
quote
Stefan Hopkins

They gathered various lengths of rope, tied them together and swam back out again. [They] actually tied the rope to the boat, came back to shore and tried to pull their boat back into the beach. The two of them just couldn't manage it so we gathered the team together and we all started helping as well.

Slowly, more people came. Sri Lankans, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Americans, Australians; as many nations as you can think of. All came together and eventually there were about 60 or 70 people, pulling on this single rope. Slowly but surely, the boat started to move.

Eventually, after quite a tiring effort by everybody, we managed to get the boat to the shore. The fisherman was crying. He was crying because he was so happy. He'd managed to get back one of his possessions. He [would be] able to repair his boat and he would be able to get his livelihood back again.

quoteTogether we managed to achieve quite an incredible feat.
quote
Stefan Hopkins

I feel that there's a message there, really, that so many different nations, some many different people who didn't know each other were pulling on that one rope. Together we managed to achieve quite an incredible feat, we managed to retrieve that fishing boat from the depths of the ocean.

For me that symbolises the huge relief effort that has now been put into motion in Sri Lanka. It's happening in India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Maldives, and all the other countries that have been so affected by this tragedy.

If only the nations around the world could continue pulling on a rope together in the future, what a wonderful world we would live in. But for now it's just heart-warming to know that, for once, the world is united and despite the terrible, terrible tragedy that has befallen this area it's wonderful to see everyone working together. end quote

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