food and transport.  Emergency assistance of USD 1.84
Box 3 Tsunami  Aftermath:  Shocked World
million had been given to 3,607 tourists by October
Bands Together
2005
33
.    The Ministry of Tourism arranged to cover the
expenses incurred by foreigners who came to Thailand
Scores of students worked as interpreters and
in search of their relatives, as well as  funeral expenses
volunteers at relief camps for foreign tourists.   At
for the foreign tourists who died in the tragedy.   The
camps such as the one at Thammasat University
Ministry of Public Health covered the medical expenses
in Bangkok, more than 600 survivors from 25
incurred by the foreign tourists who sustained injuries
countries took shelter and received free medical
and provided assistance of USD 243 to each of the injured.
care, food, transportation, long distance calls and
The RTG also set up a website showing details of
even internet services.
belongings of tourists who died in the tsunami so that
relatives could claim the recovered items.
Source: The Nation, 29 December 2005
Relief Operations  provision of shelter, food, water,
medical services
offices and on vacant lands, many organised and run
by Thai community organizations and volunteers.
Despite the scale of the disaster, the RTG is widely
acknowledged to have led an effective emergency
The Ministry of Public Health mobilized more than 200
response, including prompt provision of relief supplies
doctors who immediately moved to the affected areas.
and health services.    One of the most striking features
The health system responded effectively, with clean
of the relief operations was the extensive efforts of Thai
water being distributed, children being immunized
volunteers in providing emergency relief.   The Thai
and disease surveillance systems in place.    The Minis 
public contributed generously with relief supplies,
try of Public Health set up a command centre in Phuket
donating clothing, blood and bottled water and
led by the Deputy Permanent Secretary to coordinate
providing  meals at crisis centres.   Extensive efforts
health services, epidemic surveillance and emergency
were made to reach relief supplies to the affected areas.
medical response for the affected areas.   Preventing
The Thai Red Cross played a critical role in coordinating
the spread of communicable diseases and the outbreaks
the delivery of public donations to affected communities.
of dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, food poisoning and
hepatitis were the main priorities of the Ministry of
The tsunami had left thousands of people homeless;
Public Health at this stage.    There was no outbreak of
they crowded into provincial rescue centres.    Temporary
epidemics reported after the disaster, and secondary
shelters were set up in town halls, schools, district
loss of life was limited as a result of the effective emergency
Box 2 The Relief Camp at Bang Muang
I
One of the largest camps was the one at Bang Muang.   Though originally planned for 400, the camp eventually
MA
provided shelter to 850 families (3,500 people), most from nearby Ban Nam Kem, Thailand s worst hit village,
NU
where over 2000 people died and 1,300 houses were destroyed.  What made the Bang Muang camp
S TE
unusual was that the tsunami victims themselves managed it.   Community Planning Network leaders and
H
organizers from CODI and NGOs worked with the tsunami survivors to organize the camp.  Committees
 TO
were set up to manage cooking, camp hygiene, water supply, medical care, visitors, children s activities, lost
 TES
people, registration of newcomers and temporary house construction.  Camp wide meetings were held
N
every evening to discuss practical aspects of camp management to make announcements and to give the
OPS
committees a chance to report on the day s work  helping the survivors get into the active mode of
E R
taking care of things themselves.
 SDN
Source: Housing by People in Asia, Newsletter of Asian Coalition for Housing Rights Number 16, August 2005
AILAH T 2TR
33
 DDPM report, October 2005
PA
25
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