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World Vision focuses on getting normality back

Thu, 3 Mar 2005

From fish sauce to footballs and bathrooms to shelters – World Vision's work with tsunami-affected villages in Thailand is focusing on helping villages return to life as normal.

World Vision CEO Helen Green says that although the priority is still to ensure people have enough food and safe drinking water, other work is now underway to rebuild and create some normality for people.

Sanitation facilities, such as toilets and bathrooms, have been set up in temporary shelters – benefiting more than 600 households. In addition, temporary shelters and roads are being built by World Vision and electricity supplies and piped water systems constructed.

"But normal life is also about children playing and having some fun. So we have also set up playgrounds – including slides, see-saws and swings – in many of the temporary shelters," Mrs Green says.

In Phuket, 20 footballs have been distributed to community sports programmes to encourage people to take time-out from their day-to-day struggle to have some fun.

Food distribution is still a large focus for World Vision, Mrs Green says, but it isn't just rice and drinking water. Over 1,000 bottles of fish sauce and almost 2000 packs of chilli paste have been distributed to families in southern Thailand.

The United Nations has said that the priority for the next six months is on providing shelter, livelihood recovery, and fisheries and agriculture rehabilitation.

Mrs Green says World Vision is already working on those priorities, with plans to build temporary shelters for more than 3,000 people left homeless by the tsunami. Long-term plans for World Vision will focus on economic recovery, as well as infrastructure and social rehabilitation.

In addition, the Thailand Ministry of Public Health recently commended World Vision for its assistance and efforts on healthcare for tsunami victims.

"There isn't just one are of focus in Thailand. We are making sure we are meeting the immediate needs of victims, but also helping them to become self-sufficient and returning to their normal way of life as quickly as possible," Mrs Green says.

Some of the funds raised from this year's 40 Hour Famine (18 - 20 March) will go towards World Vision's Tsunami relief work. The theme of this year's Famine is Children in Crisis.


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