Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:
On June 5, I accompanied World Vision International staff to see where the communities are today that received emergency flood relief.
When we arrived to the village in Chinat Province, the community was receiving first-aid training and how to drive boats in flooding circumstances through the Disaster Risk Reduction program. This community was supported by WVI when the floods hit with survival kits and child-friendly spaces. At the first-aid training, the instructor made sure to emphasize the importance of rescuing the lives of neighbors in addition to family while demonstrating how to do CPR and carrying an injured victim on a stretcher. After, the staff and I observed the boat driving training, and we even were able to participate. The community has never been educated on prevention activities in case of disaster until WVI and the local government teamed up to implement these trainings. Yajai from WVI explained, this program exists because we would like to educate citizens to help themselves and neighbors when other relief can't be here immediately. Before, the village depended only on the head and leaders to make decisions, but now everyone is trained to help.
Meeting with families who received support from World Vision International, they explained that the floods happen every year but last year was the worst ever. This flood forced a family that has 3 children to move to the main road to live in a tent for 3 months. The mother said the house was flooded to the knee. During the flooding she volunteered to cook for other villages. Now she and her family have been able to return home with government support. I asked if she was worried about the flooding happening again, and she said no because she has to accept what comes. At the DRR training, she was learning first-aid and "how to help in the right way when a disaster or emergency happens," the mother shared.
Next we visited a school that had 250 students from kindergarten to 9th grade. A director and teacher shared that for 3 months the school had to shut down. Some families lived on the street. The community was devastated because it is a town of farmers, and the main road was destroyed so there was not any transport making it hard to leave and receive emergency supplies. Here WVI fixed the playground, landscape, cement, and provided books, 2 computers, sports equipment, and school supplies. Again the issue was reiterated that although it floods every year, it has never flooded like that before so no one was completely prepared. We sat with some students, and I asked them in their words what happened. The girls all jumped in adding on to each other that every year it floods to their knees but last year it went up to the roof of their homes. They moved to the main road and lived there for 3 months. Many of the girls became depressed hoping the water would recede quickly. They had to miss school and did not have anything with them – when the waters rose it happened so fast they had to leave almost everything behind. What did they miss most? Their books, one girl answered. The rest nodded agreeing. I asked if they were worried about the floods continuing to be this bad, and they said no – because they "believe in the good, that the good will happen."
Finally we visited families that received livelihoods support from WVI after the flood waters receded. Working through the village leader, WVI selected the poorest families and supported the purchase of new income generating activities, for example: chicks and chickens, mushroom growing, or catfish farms.
I want to thank WVI staff on their hospitality and taking me along to experience and report on the impact GlobalGiving donors had on flood and emergency relief. To see more pictures of my visit go to: JacquelineInTheField Blog.
When we first introduced you to the need in Thailand, people were in desperate need of help. Hundreds had died; millions were homeless, the region’s infrastructure left damaged, and over 2 million hectares of crops destroyed.
With support from donors like you, World Vision was able to provide help and hope to those affected. Providing essentials like survival kits, food, life jackets and boats. Once the waters receded World Vision supplied cleaning kits, and established Child-Friendly Spaces, providing affected families with much needed support and a safe place for children to meet.
Food and Survival Kits
In order to meet the immediate needs of flood-affected people, survival kits and food packs were distributed to targeted flood-affected communities. The survival kits each consisted of a one-week food supply, consisting of rice, instant noodles, cooking oil, fish sauce, sugar, canned food, mineral water and other hygiene products. A total of 14,890 survival kits were distributed across the provinces of Ayutthaya, Chainat, Nonthaburi, Utaithani and Bangkok, benefiting 59,560 people.
Relief supplies for Wat Raiking Evacuation Center
In addition to the distribution of survival kits and food packs, additional relief commodities, including rice, toothbrushes and toothpaste, diapers, sanitary napkins, baby powder and soap were distributed to 400 flood-affected migrant workers from Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos who were being housed in Wat Raiking School in Nakhon Pathum Province that was being used as an evacuation center. - This activity benefited 400 people
Many flood-affected areas were inundated for extended periods of time and as the floodwaters receded, much debris was left behind, making large-scale clean-ups necessary. In order to support targeted flood-affected communities in their efforts to resume their daily lives and routines, 5,000 cleaning kits were provided to 5,000 families across Ayutthaya, Chainat, Nonthaburi and Utaithani Provinces. Each cleaning kit consists of 2 brooms, 1 floor brush, 2 dozens of garbage bag, 1 dustpan, 2 packs of detergent powder, 1 scotch brush, 2 plastic bucket, and 1 shovel. - This activity has benefited 20,000 people from 5,000 households
Establishment of Child-friendly Spaces
Disasters can be stressful times for children: their normal routines were disrupted and schools were suspended due to the widespread flooding. The Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) provided a safe place for children to express themselves; learn about life skills such as self-care, healthcare and child protection; as well as to receive basic psychosocial support. The CFS were established in the provinces of Utaithani, Chonburi, Phetchaburi, Nonthaburi and Ratchaburi as well as in Bangkok. The locations for the CFS were chosen based on their proximity to evacuation centers or camps for displaced people on higher ground. - This activity benefited 1,598 children
Quote:"It [the Child Friendly Space] is very good. They came here and then they take care of the kids in this area, even (helping us) feel no pressure, not feel serious a lot and the children also they forgot that they are in a bad situation because they (begin) to heal."- Fatima, mother of four boys. Her children attended a Child Friendly Space in an evacuation shelter in Nonthaburi.
The initial emergency relief phase has been completed and the longer-term response and rebuilding efforts are continuing until June 2012. These rebuilding efforts include, clean water and sanitation activities, livelihood recovery, and disaster risk reduction programs in schools and community centers.
Fundraising to support these efforts have been completed, and so with heart-felt gratitude we thank you for your spiritual and financial support! We hope you enjoyed reading about our response efforts and how together we have made a difference in the lives of thousands of families.
We are grateful for the continuing support of generous donors like you. Below is the latest update from the the World Vision response staff in Thailand:
World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) has been responding to the Thailand flood disaster, initially in its long-term community development project areas, and later expanding to other areas of need. WVFT completed the emergency relief phase at the beginning of December and immediately launched into the long-term rehabilitation phase which will help children and communities get back on their feet.
EMERGENCY RELIEF PHASE (October – December 2011):
• 76,357 beneficiaries.
- Survival kits - Life jackets - Water filters
- Cleaning kits - Boats - Dolls & toys
- Food packs - Communal kitchens - Paper toilets
- Hygiene kits and products - Drinking water – Books
REHABILITATION PHASE (December 2011 – June 2012):
Target provinces: Chainart, Uthai Thani, Ayutthaya, Bangkok
1. Education – targeting 20 schools in four provinces
- Education kits
- Education facility repair (integrated with Livelihood sector)
- DRR training for teachers and students
2. Disaster Risk Reduction – targeting 20 schools and 20 communities in four provinces
- Preparing evacuation sites for communities (integrated with WASH sector)
- Preparedness training
- DRR materials/tool kits
- Cash for Work for education facility repair – targeting 400 households in 4 provinces
- Agricultural input (commodity vouchers) – targeting 500 farmers in Chainart and Uthai Thani
- Cash for Work for latrines/community cleaning (integrated with WASH sector) – targeting 400 households in Ayutthaya and Bangkok
4. Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH)
- Latrine/ community cleaning tools
- Water filters – targeting schools in 4 provinces
Thank you for supporting World Vision ! Your assistance makes it possible for us to provide hope to thousands of families who have been affected by this disaster.
World Vision Response Update:
The death toll from Thailand's worst floods in decades jumped above 500 on 5 November as the seemingly unstoppable waters crept deeper into Bangkok, swamping main roads and threatening the city centre.So far no deaths in Bangkok have been reported in the official toll. More than nine million people have been affected, which statistically implies more than a million children.
Bangkok authorities believe that it will take about two weeks to drain water from all the swamped main roads in the city, and at least a month to drain inundated secondary streets. Despite some improvement in overall flood situation in many provinces, thousands of residents cannot return home yet, that is why our emergency phase will continue for at least the next four weeks.
All assessments show that those who have sought shelter at evacuation centers, have been relatively well cared for. Regrettably, thousands chose to stay put – mainly because they are afraid of losing their possessions to looting. This situation makes relief – for government, relief agencies and others – unnecessarily difficult. This is often where the bulk of needs are based. Relief distribution is often done from house to house; usually by boat. Those families who have their own boats or rafts, travel to evacuation centres or other community meeting places to pick up relief kits or cooked meals. The needs at community centers are therefore also very big, and many agencies, private companies, volunteer and local government jointly run communal kitchens where stricken families come for regular meals.
We thank you for your interest in supporting the people of Thailand.
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