Dec. 29, 2004
A UMNS Report
By Ed Tomlinson*
United Methodist communicator and his family were forced to flee their
hotel in Thailand to escape a tidal wave that devastated the coast Dec.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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!”
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.
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.
is the conference information officer and executive associate to Bishop
G. Lindsey Davis in the United Methodist Church’s North Georgia Annual
News Media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.