I’ve been spending a lot of this morning looking for information on how Thailand is recovering from the Tsunami. I have been impressed with how quickly they are putting things back to normal. Most of the local websites I’ve found have had been quite unhappy about the tone of the news reports coming out of the area, and are trying their hardest to dispell rumors of the area’s total destruction. This website is loaded with day-by-day photo updates on the cleanup process.
Of course, there are areas that have been hit very hard, particularly Phang Nga Bay, which is a very popular tourist spot in Phuket. Several thousand people lost their lives there. However, the message from Southern Thailand is very clear: things are rapidly being cleaned up, and the best way to help is to come visit for a holiday. They seem most concerned that the Thai people will suffer more from lack of tourism, which keeps them employed. In a lengthy update article, Sawadee.com had this to say:
The weight of human loss and loss of livelihoods that it has wrought, and that which is still yet to come to light, is of course immeasurable. To all those people affected, we send out our most heartfelt condolences. We know you are many and we hope that we can be as strong as you and stand beside you in the months to come.
It is the Thai people who, in what would be considered overwhelming circumstances for many westerners, are quietly, stoically, cleaning up and beginning the rebuilding work on Phuket. It is a scene repeated up and down the coast. There are no scenes of wailing desperation, so beloved of CNN and BBC, despite the enormous tasks that face them.
Where foreign tourists have fled the ÂterrorÂ, the Thai people are still here. Despite their losses Â and thatÂs not just a few suitcases of clothes Â there are no mercy flights to whisk them away. They will be here throughout all that is to come. The Thai people of Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga are the heroes here, for it is they who have lost the most and they will be the ones who take on the task of rebuilding the Pearl of the Andaman.
I’m looking forward to my visit to the area. I think it will be so much more meaningful than just a sunny destination now. Seeing people bounce back from tragedy and move on with courage is very inspiring.