Blog: Leonie BarrieTsunami tragedy

Leonie Barrie | 5 January 2005

The worst I was expecting to have to write about at the start of 2005 was the impact of the lifting of quotas at the beginning of the year. But this, of course, has been surpassed by events in Asia, where tsunami-ravaged countries are trying to come to terms with the biggest humanitarian disaster on record. No-one who has watched the pictures coming back from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and India can fail to be moved by the catalogue of devastation, both human and material, that has unfolded over the past week or so. Indeed, it is likely to cast a sombre shadow over all of us for many months to come.

It is with terrible irony that all of these countries are dependent on clothing exports for a considerable contribution to their export earnings. They have been working hard to combat the impact of quota abolition and their vulnerability to the full blast of competition from cheap rival producers China – and now this.

Luckily, most of the big manufacturing centres have not been hit by the tsunamis, but some factories have closed because staff are trying to cope with the massive disruption to their workers and infrastructure. Our thoughts and sympathies are with everyone who has been caught up in this terrible event.


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