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A decade after 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
Hope abounds for families who increased their income or gained dignity in life; young people can dream of fulfilling their ambitions
BANGKOK (19 December 2014) - The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was known as one of the most devastating disasters of recent times. The tsunami was caused by a 9-magnitude undersea earthquake that struck off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. More than 230,000 died and 1.7 million people were displaced as the tsunami affected more than a dozen countries from Thailand to Madagascar.
Habitat for Humanity worked in the most affected countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, helping about 25,000 families to rebuild their homes and hope. Habitat focused on permanent housing solutions, using community-based strategies. In India, Habitat started a pilot program to help tens of thousands of families prepare for disasters and reduce the risk of disasters
UPDATE - Six months on from Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded. Six months on from the typhoon that first made landfall on 8 November 2013, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has distributed emergency or shelter repair kits to nearly 18,000 families, and rebuilding work has begun at four sites across the affected areas.
Amazing stories of survival can also be found everywhere: Opelia Marcullo’s thirteen-member family sheltered in a toilet room – chosen as it didn’t have a roof – in a nearby house after their house started crumbling around them. Water rose up to their waists. “We didn’t know what to do, we didn’t have any money; we had to find ways to survive,” said Opelia, 59.
Just two weeks after Haiyan hit, on 23 November 2013, Opelia and her husband Mario Marcullo, 50, went to collect the contents of a Habitat for Humanity Philippines shelter repair kit – plywood, lumber, galvanized iron sheeting, hammer, handsaw and nails. Whenever they managed to save enough money, they paid carpenters to build their walls and roof, and by February 2014 their house was completely repaired.
Mario has tried to continue his work as a fisherman: “I used to catch around 30 kilos of fish. Since the typhoon I collect perhaps two kilos or zero. I think it will take more than five years before the fish return.” He has now started also working as a laborer and Opelia has started doing other people’s laundry and selling fish on the street to generate more income.