August 16 2005
New start for tsunami victims in Thailand
16/08/2005 - After his trip to Aceh Province, Indonesia, SOS Children's Village President Helmut Kutin is visiting Thailand. In Phang Nga, a northern province neighbouring Phuket, family houses and fishing boats were given to families who lost all their belongings in the sea surge on 26 December.
The disaster-struck regions in Thailand received the most well-organised assistance after the tsunami tragedy, which was supported by a professional network of national and international organisations. SOS Children's Villages therefore focused on providing assistance to areas outside the tourist centres which had to wait a long time until they could receive any reconstruction help.
In the Ban Tung Wha village (Ban means village in Thai), 20 houses were given to families in the presence of Helmut Kutin and the governor of the province of Phang Nga. The families had had to stay in inadequate living quarters until the new houses were completed. With tears of relief and joy, they were able to move into the houses, which were built in record time. These same families also received a total of 18 boats, with which the fishermen can stay out at sea overnight as well, and can earn their livelihoods independently.
Additionally, in the neighbouring village of Ban Tub Tawan, 23 fishing boats with motors, fully equipped with fishing gear such as locally-produced nets, were distributed. In Ban Tub Tawan, SOS Children's Villages only provides fishing boats, as the reconstruction of the houses has been taken on by another relief organisation.
President Helmut Kutin on the reconstruction assistance provided in Thailand: "Ban Tung Wha and Ban Tub Tawan were completely destroyed by the Tsunami. No help has been provided to either village aside from immediate emergency relief, since they are not located in close proximity to the most important tourist resorts. Being given homes and boats and the fact that someone is there and is listening was very important to these families."
In the Ranong province in the south of Thailand, SOS Children's Villages is running another reconstruction project. The Ban Talay Nok School, in the small village by the same name on the coast of the Andaman Sea, was completely destroyed on 26 December 2004, and is being re-built from scratch by SOS Children's Villages. 47 inhabitants of Ban Talay Nok lost their lives in the sea surge, including some students and one teacher. Only the floor of the multi-purpose ground and the flagpole remained.
The new school will have five classrooms, a multi-purpose building and a study-centre, a school canteen, a library with a computer room, a sports and playground, accommodation for teachers, a sanitation complex and a water tank. It will offer classes from kindergarten to grade six and the 60 students will be taught in temporary facilities until the completion of the school at the end of 2005/beginning of 2006.