Friday, December 31, 2004

Donations - where?

The major international aid agencies (Red Cross etc) are now in full swing helping victims of the disaster in the region. I have been asked by many people who want to help - where should I send money? The international agencies are doing fantastic work so that is a good place to start with your donations. They are helping with the vital and immediate task of feeding and providing medical care for the millions of people effected.

I have decided to provide financial support to the long term rebuilding of the local communities in Phang Nga, the worst hit region in our area. These communities have relied principally on fishing and tourism in the past. Tourism has gone for the foreseeable future and the fishing equipment is at best severely damaged. Schools and hospitals are piles of rubble and many of the teachers and medical staff are no longer with us.

This is NOT a request for donations but rather if you are going to give anyway and want to steer your money towards some very specific local projects on the coast of Thailand then I will ensure that the money you donate is directed to rebuild Thai communities in Phang Nga.

Contact me if you wish to donate funds.


PS I have expanded on the details in Email #6 below

A fair complaint

10 AM, January 1, 2005

Read the above linked AP article how Thais are complaining of the priority and extra comfort levels provided to foreigners.... The international school mentioned can only be Dulwich....

Yesterday was spent helping the remnant of survivors left at Dulwich either get on their way or settle down to a somber New Year's Eve. Few new foreign survivors are showing up at our doors; most of the boarding house residents are now consular staff, doctors, nurses, and rescue teams. I stayed in the relief centre until about 10:00 PM, then went over to one of the boarding houses to have a drink with a group of teachers. The main topic of conversation seemed to be cholera. The biology teacher said if it breaks out, we need to get off the island. Another example of the economic disparity between the locals and foreigners. We obviously could afford to get off the island.... So that led to another discussion -- what can we do to help the locals in the long term.

I suggested the Dulwich community might focus some of their aid and charity efforts on schools. We heard there are at least 35 schools in danger of not opening this coming week due to damage to both outside and inside (not to mention the human issues). Perhaps we could re-fit those schools, offer our facilities on weekends for their use, and/or sponsor the cost of schooling for Thai families whose homes and livelihoods were affected by the tsunami. We have a whole staff meeting on Wednesday morning (though the start of school has been delayed until Monday the 10th) and I expect the headmaster to address the issue.

One sort of positive story from yesterday: the Norwegian family who lost the baby got news of a successful DNA match with a dead baby in Krabi. After days of visiting hospitals and morgues, they had decided to give up and return to Norway. Then the call came through. So they are travelling today to pick up the body to take it back to Norway. At least they know what happened to him. I heard that the procedure for logging corpses involved taking a photograph, getting fingerprints, and taking a swab from the inside of the mouth for DNA matching purposes. What a nasty job that must be.

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