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United Methodist, family, escape tidal wave in Thailand

 


United Methodist, family, escape tidal wave in Thailand

Dec. 29, 2004      

A UMNS Report
By Ed Tomlinson*

A United Methodist communicator and his family were forced to flee their hotel in Thailand to escape a tidal wave that devastated the coast Dec. 26.

Tim McDaniel, 36, associate director of communications for the denomination’s North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference, was celebrating Christmas with his family in the coastal town of Phuket when the tsunami struck.

The tsunami, born of an earthquake in the Indian Ocean, sent a shock wave into the information office of the North Georgia Conference in the form of an e-mail message later that day from McDaniel. The subject line read, “We are safe.”

Unable to get to a hotel computer to send word until the night of Dec. 26, McDaniel described the scene as occupants were warned of having 30 minutes to evacuate.

“There are so many people here we couldn’t leave,” he wrote. “We had to climb to the highest point on the island. What a sight!! All of us ... climbing up this jungle-like mountain.”

McDaniel and his family were forced to stay on the mountain for four hours as the waves crashed on the beaches.  “We couldn’t see anything due to the foliage,” he wrote. “I’m thinking that was a good thing.  There were many bodies washing up on the shore.  Very tragic!”

McDaniel and his parents, Don and Fran McDaniel, had made the 11-hour flight from Atlanta to be with his brother’s family. Tim’s brother, Mike McDaniel, is a missionary for the Southern Baptist Mission Board and is stationed in Bangladesh with his wife, Karen, and their five children.

In the wake of the tidal surge and the aftershocks, more than 76,000 people are believed dead in 11 countries from Indonesia to Somalia. The devastation has caused communication and transportation problems throughout Southeast Asia.

It remains unclear as to when McDaniel and his parents will be able to return home.

*Tomlinson is the conference information officer and executive associate to Bishop G. Lindsey Davis in the United Methodist Church’s North Georgia Annual Conference.

News Media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 

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