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Holding on to hope for life

In the last week of June, an underground cave in Thailand got flooded and a group of teenage footballers and their coach got trapped in it. For over nine days, they survived in the dark, cramped space with minimal water and food supplies before a rescue team tracked them down. And even after their discovery on the 10th day, their hardship is far from over, as experts are still figuring out a way to bring the survivors to safety. It seems the boys and their coach may have to rough it out in the unknown for a few more months.

The incident has caught the attention of world media, and rescue teams from many countries have offered their services to the Thailand authorities. It is heartening to see that humanity rises as one in times of need. The knowledge that so many people are working to get them to safety must bring some hope and comfort to the children and their coach, who have likely suffered unimaginable stress and trauma.

Calamity often strikes without warning—humans have found themselves trapped in the rubbles of an earthquake, in the depths of the jungle and in the crevices of canyons with no escape. When prospects of survival seem bleak and help is far out of reach, we hope that we will be saved. And we hold on. Often, it is this hope that gives us the strength to simply wait for help to come to us.

In 2017, when a group of swimmers were caught in a riptide in the Gulf of Mexico, 80 beachgoers formed a human chain to pull the swimmers out of danger.

During the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, four survivors were rescued from under the rubble after several days by a device employed by the NASA that detected their heartbeats. In 2016, a man who was trapped in the attic of his house with his aged dog, when Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina, was saved by a photographer who used his drone to catch the attention of the rescue authorities. And in 2017, when a group of swimmers were caught in a riptide in the Gulf of Mexico, 80 beachgoers formed a human chain to pull the swimmers out of danger.

Incidents like these restore our faith in humanity, don’t they? They give us hope that we will be saved someday, if need be. And more importantly, they inspire us to practise empathy and extend a helping hand to people when they need it. In that sense, one might say that in times of distress, hope and humanity go hand in hand.

In the case of the Thailand cave flooding too, humanity has risen to the occasion magnificently. The survivors continue to hold on to hope, as international rescue squads work day and night to get them out of the cave safe and sound. It might be a while before the children and their coach are completely out of the woods. But we continue to hope, along with them, that the rescue attempts turn out successful.


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