There are many lessons learnt from the immediate reactions of people in the aftermath of the vast destruction from the giant waves that hit Sri Lanka. Reactions of victims fell between extremes of resilience and helplessness. Responses of those not directly harmed illustrated the two extremes-selflessness and depravity. These responses offer insight into how we live and how we react to situations, and also to an extent how we should be reacting. Among these is that helpers should respect and involve, from the inception, the resources within the group or community affected by the disaster. Control of the relief effort to the maximum feasible extent, should be in the hands of those at whom it is directed.