Tsunami disaster – countries in crisis

Death toll on the rise in Thailand

BANGKOK, Thailand, 3 January 2005 - The body count continues to rise in Thailand after massive tidal waves caused by a 9.0 earthquake smashed into the southern region of the country. The official death toll from the tsunami disaster is rapidly nearing 5,000 with thousands more still missing.

“Almost 600,000 children have been affected, both Thai children and children who are tourists,” said UNICEF Representative in Thailand, Inese Zalitis. Children make up approximately one third of the 1.9 million people in the affected southern provinces, including Phang-nga, Krabi, Ranong, Satun, Trang and the popular vacation destination, Phuket.

A UNICEF-led assessment team has been told by the Vice Governor of Phang-nga that the death toll for the province, hardest hit , by the tsunami disaster, will likely soar when lakes, ponds and quarries are drained as part of the search effort. In Bam Nam Khem village, one quarry alone could yield hundreds of bodies.

UNICEF has contributed US $100,000 to the Thai Government’s national emergency response. Temporary shelters and camps have been set up to accommodate displaced children and adults. With the relief effort being conducted by UNICEF and its partners, the affected population has begun to receive food, water, clothes and bed nets.

UNICEF Thailand has dispatched 6 teams of specialists in order to help children who are suffering the effects of the traumatic experience and its aftermath. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has reported that many survivors are suffering from a vast range of psychological disorders, ranging from anxiety and paranoia to severe depression.

Teams of experts will counsel children in the local communities and temporary shelters. In addition, UNICEF Thailand has dispatched trained volunteers to the six provinces to provide children with food, clothing and other basic relief items.

UNICEF is expected to monitor the first day of school on 4 January. UNICEF will also keep working to ensure that all orphaned children are located, and if possible,  reunited with relatives.


 

 

Audio

30 December 2004:
UNICEF Representative in Thailand, Inese Zalitis, talks about how the 26 December tsunami has affected thousands of children in Thailand

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