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Tsunami - World Vision is focusing on the health

10 March 2005

World Vision is focusing on the health and economic needs of people in tsunami-affected areas of Asia, now that emergency relief work is almost complete.

World Vision CEO Helen Green says health programmes will address key concerns such as malaria and dengue fever and other communicable diseases, which are common in areas such as Indonesia's Banda Aceh.

"Much of the public health infrastructure has been destroyed in areas that were badly hit, so we are involved in capacity-building of health professionals, the reconstruction of health facilities and the provision of essential medial equipment as well as medicines," she says.

In Banda Aceh a temporary media clinic has been set up, with nine more to follow. Upcoming activities include providing emergency vehicles and establishing community health education programmes.

Livelihood recovery projects are also a major focus in Indonesia. The United Nations estimates that 1.8 million people in Ache lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of the tsunami. In response to this, World Vision has begun to develop livelihood recovery projects, initially targeting 124 families.

"Almost all the men are fishermen who have lost their livelihoods, so we are helping with purchasing new boats so they can return to work. Once we have a programme in place, we hope to help many, many more people return to work," Mrs Green says.

Health needs have also become a priority in Thailand. Mrs Green says World Vision is working with the Ministry of Public Health to provide a mobile clinic to serve families in Phuket, Phang Nga and Ranong.

Mrs Green says that although the focus has turned from relief work to reconstruction, World Vision is continuing to distribute drinking water, food, tents and other essential supplies to areas in need.

"It is now more than two months since the tsunami hit, but there are still hundreds of thousands of people across Indonesia, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka who are continuing to need aid. We are still doing all we can to meet these needs, but must also make sure we are helping people to become self-sufficient," she says.


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