News

    One Month After Tsunami, Some Signs of Normalcy Start to Appear

    Nancy-Amelia Collins

    Almost one month after a deadly tsunami struck the shores of a dozen Indian Ocean countries, estimates of the dead and injured are running as high as 290,000. The biggest relief operation ever mounted continues to feed and shelter the survivors, and major outbreaks of disease have been prevented, but relief officials say there is still much to be done.

    Positive signs are beginning to emerge. In Indonesia's Aceh province, the region hardest hit by the tsunami, U.N. officials report the number of refugee camps has decreased by 75 percent during the past week.

    Officials say people are moving from the camps to the homes of relatives, or back to what is left of their villages along the devastated West Coast of Sumatra.

    One-hundred-thirty schools are scheduled to reopen Wednesday in Aceh, the one-month after the disaster. They will serve as many as possible of the 540,000 Acehnese children whose schools were damaged or destroyed. In Sri Lanka, which suffered second only to Indonesia, children began returning to school last week.

    World Food Program Asian regional director Tony Banbury says relief workers are still supplying basic necessities to devastated communities, but governments and organizations are starting to think of restoring of homes and livelihoods.

    "The focus is still on the emergency assistance, general distribution to anyone who has been affected without any conditions of any kind attached," he said. "But it's not too early to be thinking of the recovery phase."

    Mr. Banbury says the WFP will be working with the governments of Indonesia and Sri Lanka to assess long-term needs. He estimates the transition to the recovery phase will take place during the next five to six months.

    "During the recovery phase we need to target our assistance in a more refined manner to make sure that we do not create a dependency culture; we can also very importantly help with the restoration of livelihoods through food for work projects, for instance clearing cities, helping rebuild schools and homes and community centers," he said.

    While countries like Thailand have begun to rebuild destroyed houses and businesses, the harder-hit regions are still struggling to find and bury the dead, and to clear the massive amounts of debris. The number of dead and missing in Aceh was put as high as 228,000 on Tuesday.

    Louis Jorge Perez, the World Health Organization's Asian coordinator for tsunami relief, says the danger of epidemics has probably passed, thanks to the world's rapid response to the disaster, but he warns against complacency.

    "Definitely we cannot lower our guard," he said. "We have to continue this as if we were still in the first few days of the emergency, because this is going to be a long rehabilitation process."

    Thailand, which lost more than 5,000 people to the tsunami, saw at least another seven killed Tuesday, including four foreign tourists, when an overloaded boat heading to the holiday island of Koh Samui capsized.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora