The tsunami puts our man-made disasters (Iraq for instance) into perspective. Politicians disappear from the news broadcasts. Nothing they have done or could do is half as fearsome as this. We see the same footage over and over again: big frothing waves chase holiday-makers through hotel gardens, people huddle in the shelter of a wall until the water sweeps them away, a train that the sea caught broadside lies wrecked in the jungle while a voice-over tells us that some its carriages have still to be found.
I don't like to watch. It makes me feel cheap in every sense of the word. This isn't stuff one should be viewing from one's reclining armchair with a mince-pie in one's fist.
They interviewed a man who was in a fifth floor room when the sea hit his hotel. He said he didn't see how anyone on the beach could have survived. "Afterwards," he added, "we went downstairs and took pictures."