Swedish couple have honeymoon from hell
A newly-wed couple on a four-month honeymoon were hit by six natural disasters, including the Australian floods, Christchurch earthquake and Japanese tsunami.
Stefan and Erika Svanstrom left Stockholm, Sweden, on December 6 and were immediately stranded in Munich, Germany, due to one of Europe’s worst snowstorms.
Travelling with their baby daughter, they flew on to Cairns in Australia which was then struck by one of the most ferocious cyclones in the nation’s history.
From there, the couple, in their 20s, were forced to shelter for 24 hours on the cement floor of a shopping centre with 2500 others.
"Trees were being knocked over and big branches were scattered across the streets," Mr Svanstrom told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper. "We escaped by the skin of our teeth."
They then headed south to Brisbane but the city was experiencing massive flooding, so they crossed the country to Perth where they narrowly escaped raging bush fires.
The couple then flew to Christchurch, New Zealand, arriving just after a massive magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastated the city on February 22.
Mrs Svanstrom said: “When we got there the whole town was a war zone.
"We could not visit the city since it was completely blocked off, so instead we travelled around before going to Japan."
But days after the Svanstroms arrived, Tokyo was rocked by Japan’s largest earthquake since records began.
"The trembling was horrible and we saw roof tiles fly off the buildings," Mr Svantrom said. "It was like the buildings were swaying back and forth."
The family returned to Stockholm on March 29 after a much calmer visit to their last destination China.
But Mr Svanstrom – who also survived the devastating Boxing Day tsunami that hit southeast Asia in 2004 – said the marriage was still going strong.
He added: “I know marriages have to endure some trials, but I think we have been through most of them.
"We’ve certainly experienced more than our fair share of catastrophes, but the most important thing is that we’re together and happy.
Mrs Svanstrom added: “To say we were unlucky with the weather doesn’t really cover it! It’s so absurd that now we can only laugh.”
Q. No Sympathy: I recently caught my Sunday school class off-guard when Hurricane Katrina was brought up, AGAIN! (*Sigh*) I made it known that I have no sympathy for anyone that lost homes, lives, loved-ones, etc., when Hurricane Katrina hit. My reasoning: 99 percent of those people made a CHOICE to live in an area that they knew was prone to hurricanes. Therefore, it was my opinion that I shouldn’t have to feel sorry for someone that made a mistake and chose to live in the wrong area of the United States. Does this make me a bad person?
A: Do you teach at the Ayn Rand “It’s Your Own Fault” Sunday school? When you teach the story of the flood, you must disparage God for instructing Noah to save the living creatures of the earth—according to you they all deserved to drown. By your reasoning, anyone who lives someplace prone to natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards) should be left to their own devices when catastrophe hits. Perhaps you should instruct your students where the proper places to live are, since vast swaths of the earth put populations at risk. Maybe you want to open your home to the millions who must migrate if they follow your principles.
I’m assuming Katrina came up yet again because your students find your point of view morally indefensible. Good for them. Having such a discussion—and citing biblical texts to support various points of view—will make for a challenging, lively class. Although you are very certain about your lack of empathy for victims of the hurricane, I will leave unanswered your question as to whether you’re a bad person. I just don’t have enough information about you to draw such a sweeping conclusion.
$16.36, the amount per person donated to Pakistan following the July floods. $1087.33 per person was donated to Haiti following this year’s earthquake.
The images from Haiti’s earthquake resonated around the world, triggering an outpouring of money and goodwill. But Pakistan’s disastrous floods did not elicit the same feelings. Perhaps its the country’s history of supporting terrorism, its alleged harboring of Osama bin Laden, or its remote location in South Asia. But whatever the reason, donors hesitated to give the kinds of money it gave to Haiti. At one point an estimated one-fifth of the Pakistani population was under water. Flying over the scene of wrecked homes and mudslides, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had never seen anything like it. An estimated 1,600 people died.
Maybe it was the lack of media coverage on Pakistan, or rather the attention provided by celebrities. There were countless celebrities going out, asking for money to be donated to Haiti. George Clooney and Wyclef Jean in particular were the faces of the Haiti aid project.
Not a single celebrity comes to mind that tried to raise awareness regarding Pakistan. I can think of the reports from Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams on Pakistan, but that’s about it. [I’ll try to get links for both of these up when I can, hopefully soon.] Cooper is close to a celebrity himself, but not really for any of his reporting but for his personal life, and the occasional oddball report.
Before January I doubt most Americans knew where Haiti was on the map. Today I still doubt that. I know most Americans don’t know that Haiti was the second democratic government in the Americas. Or that they looked to the United States for support and assistance as their government struggled to establish itself. But Haiti was founded on the backs of a slave revolution; so despite sharing our democratic beliefs, they were Africans in the minds of early 19th century Americans. For a long time, that perception of Haitians as intrinsically separate from Americans has stuck with us.