Friday, 26 December 2014

After the tsunami: Thai fishing village, ten years on

Ampai with her three children outside the family home on Koh Lanta
© UNICEF Thailand/2014/Jingjai N.
It’s been ten years since the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the Thai island of Koh Lanta on 26 December 2004, but talking about it still brings tears to Ampai’s eyes. “I often cry when I talk about the tsunami,” she says apologetically. “It’s always at the back of my mind, like a scar that doesn’t heal.”

Ampai Madsaron, 42, lives in a poor fishing village which is totally dependent on the ocean and was hit hard by the tsunami. Her home is a wooden hut built on stilts over the sea to allow easy access for the family’s fishing boat. They earn around 1,000 baht ($30 US dollars) for a good day’s catch of fish, squid or crabs.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Families shelter from Typhoon Hagupit

© UNICEF Philippines/2014/Andy Brown
Typhoon Hagupit passed south of Manila, capital of the Philippines, overnight on Monday. Wind and rain brought flood risks for slum communities living near the river. In Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City (part of Metro Manila), an evacuation centre was set up in a covered court on the hillside above a flood plain.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Typhoon Hagupit diary: into the eye of the storm

Carmela, 8, holds her brother Joshua as they wait for Typhoon Hagupit to pass
© UNICEF/UNI175840/Samson
Sunday 7 December – Yesterday I arrived in Manila, the Philippines, a day or two ahead of Typhoon Hagupit (known locally as Ruby). Looking out to sea from UNICEF’s office on the 30th floor of RCBC Plaza, there’s no sign yet of the typhoon. There’s even a narrow band of sunlight on the horizon. But everyone knows that it’s coming.

The typhoon made landfall last night in Dolores, Eastern Samar, on the eastern edge of the Philippines. Although it has weakened from a Category 5 to 3 typhoon, it could still cause major devastation, particularly as it crosses areas still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan last year, or if it hits the densely populated capital Manila (now looking unlikely).