PDI Global
[ Village Development Partnership ]
CBERS: a rapid response to the tsunami

Extensive damage caused by the tsunami

Two days after the Southeast Asian tsunami destroyed and wasted coastal and island communities, PDI - PDA was on-site in one of the hardest-hit areas in southern Thailand, Krabi, to respond to the crisis. Days later, additional volunteers from around the globe joined PDI - PDA and other emergency relief services in supporting those who lost everything from the sea that once sustained them.

Women's working group, building hope

Wanee was the first member of her family to arrive at the location of their coastal home, where coconut and palm trees had toppled over leaving mere ruins. She counted herself as one of the lucky as all of her children survived. However, her husband was never found. She immediately joined the Community Based Emergency Relief Services (CBERS) established by PDI - PDA to help to clean up the debris and repair damage, while her children joined search and rescue teams to look for their father and community members amidst the debris. PDI - PDA paid them in both food and some cash. Her story is one of many.

While numerous emergency relief efforts came to aid with establishing priority efforts, PDI - PDA brought some stability to the communities by introducing post-crisis relief and rehabilitation through the CBERS response. PDI - PDA’s belief is that by initiating sustainable solutions early-on the survivors of the disaster would have skills and resources to help themselves in the long-term. The initial responses focused on strengthening:
• Skills development training and counseling with focus on self-help
• Psychological health for victims and their families
• The operation of community-owned micro-credit funds for income-generation
• Environmental and agricultural training
• Health and education training
• Primary and secondary educational support funding
• School lunches, educational scholarships, clothes for children
• Clean drinking water, proper sanitation, water resource management

“…. the ocean took my husband - he always brought us fish to eat. I miss him and had no food at first. PDI - PDA helped me to be strong and to look to the future. They encourage me to fight and continue. Now we have clean water and food and hope.”

Wanee’s family and many others benefited from the earliest stages of support from the CBERS efforts. However, much remains to be done as the trauma continues and will continue to affect their lives. Though the death toll has been relatively low in Thailand, with approximately 6,000 people killed, it is the double-loss of livelihood and housing that makes this tragedy so devastating for the poor Thai coastal communities. These people must rebuild their businesses and homes, all the while with minimal savings and almost no access to credit. The tragedy of the tsunami is not just the thousands of people killed in Thailand, but the number of families that will be put further and further into debt as they rebuild their houses and try to restart their destroyed businesses.

> Click here to find out ways you can continue to help those in need of long-term support.


PDI is a 501(C)(3) organization based in the United States committed to eradicating poverty worldwide