Many still rely on tsunami relief supplies from 6 months ago
PHONE DAW BYAE, Myanmar, 21 June 2005 - When the Indian Ocean tsunami pounded the sleepy fishing village of Phone Daw Byae last December, more than 100 families lost their homes – destroyed by the relentless waves. Six months later the shattered wreckage still litters the sandy ground near the shore.
Many children in Phone Daw Byae and other parts of Myanmar saw their lives overturned.
“That morning I was selling snacks with my mother, and while we were cooking the first big wave struck the shore,” says 12-year old Phyo Ei Khine. “We ran to a monastery, and then the second wave hit. Our house was destroyed and almost everything we had was swept away.”
UNICEF quickly responded, providing affected families with survival kits packed with essential supplies.
“We received a UNICEF box with blankets, pillows, pots and pans,” says Phyo Ei Khine.
Many tsunami-affected families continue to rely on these supplies even today.
Back to school
As dawn rises in Phone Daw Byae, music fills the air at the village’s local primary school. It’s the first day of the new school year in Myanmar, and children are obviously happy. Returning to school means returning to normalcy, leaving behind, at least for a while, the chaos left by the tsunami.
UNICEF is delivering educational supplies for 60,000 children living in tsunami-affected areas, providing students at primary schools like this one with textbooks and other basic school supplies to help defray the cost of their education.
The organization is also supporting the repair and refurbishment of 400 schools. Schools in particularly hard-hit areas are receiving new water tanks.
Life remains far from easy
Phyo Ei Khine’s family still uses blankets, mosquito nets and other supplies from the UNICEF survival kit they received months ago. Her family also has a new latrine.
“We didn’t ever have a latrine before the tsunami, but now we have this UNICEF latrine, [which is] better for our health,” Phyo Ei Khine says.
Life for Phyo Ei Khine and other tsunami-affected children in Myanmar remains far from easy. UNICEF is continuing its work to bring assistance to all these children in need.
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March 2005 - Carroll Long UNICEF Representative in Myanmar discusses how the money donated to UNICEF is being spent to help children.
A new beginning for the people of Kine Thaung Island
6 January 2005 - UNICEF Communication Officer Jason Rush gives an update on the situation in Myanmar following the tsunami that hit Asia on 26 December 2004.