By Kun Li
|© UNICEF video|
|Dermot Carty works for UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes as a Global Landmines Coordinator.|
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NEW YORK, 23 March 2005 - UNICEF staff member, Dermot Carty, recently shared his thoughts on the incredible devastation caused by the tsunami. Mr. Carty works for UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes as a Global Landmines Coordinator. He went to Banda Aceh, Indonesia - one of the worst-hit cities - three weeks after the disaster stuck in order to help with UNICEF’s back-to-school programme for Aceh’s children.
“I had worked on back-to-school campaigns in Afghanistan and Liberia before, so I brought some experience to Banda Aceh,” explained Mr. Carty. “When we drove down to the lower part of the town, we looked out and saw complete devastation - just unimaginable flattening of buildings and trees. There were still flooded areas there. It was just unbelievable,” recalled Mr. Carty.
|© UNICEF Indonesia/2005/Carty|
|Mr. Carty took this photo while he was in Banda Aceh three weeks after the tsunami struck. The photo shows a school that was severely damaged by the tsunami.|
Mr. Carty documented some of the destruction with his digital camera. One of the photos he took at Banda Aceh strikes him the most. “It’s a particularly sad picture of the remains of a school in Banda Aceh. Pre-tsunami, there were 120 primary schools in Banda Aceh. Post-tsunami, there are probably only 54 schools left. This is very sad for us who went there to plan and implement the back-to-school campaign,” said Mr. Carty.
The children of Banda Aceh returned to school exactly one month after the disaster. UNICEF was there to support the Government’s efforts. To date, UNICEF has distributed enough basic school supplies for 300,000 children, and is also proposing to hire another 1,000 teachers.
Mr. Carty feels confident about the future of children in Banda Aceh. UNICEF has moved out of the relief phase, and has set its sights on supporting long-term restoration. UNICEF plans to spend about $80 million to rehabilitate 250 schools in the next three years. In addition, learning materials for all primary school children in Aceh will be provided by UNICEF.
UNICEF helps children cope with the devastation