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Community Rehabilitation and Ecology Project in 9 Coastal Sub-districts impacted by the Tsunami disaster in Phang-nga Province

The goal of the Community Rehabilitation and Ecology Project in 9 Coastal Sub-districts impacted by the tsunami in Phang-nga Province is to ameliorate the effect of the tsunami on communities in Phang-nga Province. The project focused on enabling local areas and community organizations to play a role in helping communities impacted by the tsunami to overcome the difficulties so their lives could return to normal. The goal is being achieved through increasing the potential of communities and community organizations to reestablish their way of life then, when their lives have returned to normal, revitalizing their awareness of sustainable natural resource and environmental management and of guidelines for preventing future disasters.

Because the Wildlife Fund of Thailand, under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen, a non-government organization, was already working with community organizations and villagers groups along the Andaman Sea coast, WFT began conducting operations as planned by the Community Rehabilitation and Ecology Project in 9 Coastal Sub-districts impacted by the tsunami in Phang-nga Province. WFT has been working together with the Cooperative Network for the Rehabilitation of Andaman Sea Coastal Communities, the Four Region Slum Network, the Thai Communities Foundation, the Rak Thai Foundation, the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation, the Office of the Phang-nga Provincial Fund for Support of Local Research, the Andaman Pilot Project, the Chulalonkorn University Social Research Institute, the Childrens Foundation, the Volunteers for Society Foundation, the Responsible Ecological Social Tours Project (REST) and the Coastal Habitats Resources Management Project (CHARM). Organizational cooperation extended to all the target areas.

During the four month period April-July 2005, assistance efforts of many of the cooperating organizations were directed toward construction of permanent dwellings, boat building and boat repair facilities and to providing emergency supplementary employment for those affected by the disaster such as constructing sewn nets, building door and window frames and making souvenirs (vases, dolls made from seashells, key chains), batik cloth and shirts, etc. The Wildlife Fund of Thailand staff and volunteers together with community organizations worked to prepare the communities for the next phase of the rehabilitation and development process. Surveys of natural resources and the environment were conducted in cooperation with relevant government agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Evaluation of the emotional state of the people was conducted with individuals in each area rather than as an overall evaluation. In addition, communities in Ban Nam Khem (Laem Pom), Ban Thap Tawanand Ban Nai Rai of Phang-nga Province and Ban Layan-Khok Tanod of Phuket Province which were impacted by the tsunami still had conflicts over residential land and land used for earning a living. Those conflicts created significant difficulties for the communities. Before the tsunami, members of the communities had lived and earned their livelihoods in those areas as attested to by aerial photographs, documents from government offices such as mining concession documents, requests for house registration numbers, requests for electricity and water services plus confirming statements from senior members of the communities. These land disputes need to be followed up and advice given to the communities as land is a basic factor affecting the ability of communities to maintain their way of life.

During the next phase, the goal of the Wildlife Fund of Thailand is to provide support for rehabilitation of factors related to livelihood including fishing gear such as floating shrimp nets, floating fish nets, bottom crab gill nets, bamboo grouper fish traps, narrow neck squid traps, narrow neck fish traps and boat engines as appropriate for each community along with rehabilitation of the ocean, coastal areas and the environment. During this next phase, assistance will focus on strengthening the planning and management ability of community organizations. Medium term plans for the recovery of the way of life of the communities will involve local area networks and associated organizations jointly providing appropriate support to community organizations and environmental conditions in the local areas.
Andaman Oraganization for Participatory Restoration of Natural Resource (ARR)
24/28   Moo 1, Sakdidate Rd., Tambol Vichit, Maung, Phuket 83000

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