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Baan Nam Kem Community
 
Baan Nam Kem was originally a small community comprising roughly 30 households. It expanded rapidly in the 1970s when tin mines were licensed and migrants settled down for the industry. The local community expanded with these migrants who came from many faiths and other culture, enriching its diversity. However, since 1990s tin ores were depleted and migration slowed down. Baan Nam Kem’s inhabitants returned to fishery and small-scale manufacturing of seafood products as their main source of income, which continues to this day.

Baan Nam Kem after the Indian Ocean Tsunami
Baan Nam Kem was one of the most affected communities from the tragedy. More than half of 4,200 inhabitants were lost to the sea and 80% of buildings were destroyed. The rest badly needed restoration or reconstruction.

Several governmental agencies, private companies and NGOs within Thailand and from abroad have helped Baan Nam Kem rebuild their community. New accommodations were built for an entire neighbourhood, basic infrastructure restored, and essential fishing tools handed out to enable a return to normal life. However, all agreed that the most sustainable community restoration would be to restore confidence and empower the people so that they can develop strength and preparedness from within. This principle was applied to Baan Nam Kem, which quickly became a shining example for other communities affected by natural disaster.

Community Relations Center at Baan Nam Kem
Baan Nam Kem community has improved their potential in resource management for Tsunami-risk mitigation, having established the “Coordinating Centre for Victims of Tsunami, Baan Nam Kem, Pang-Nga Province”, a legalized entity that can distribute donation and manage resources within the community. Currently the Center acts as a local bank with more than 1,100 members and 13 million baht of assets. They have also established a cooperative “Baan Mankong” to provide credit for housing construction as well as training for new jobs such as agricultural production, handicrafts and traditional fishery. The cooperative currently has members from 56 households who are in training for 22 kinds of new jobs.

The Coordinating Center is a vital bridge for Baan Nam Kem community to access funds and development assistance. It also greatly helps connect governmental organizations and NGOs with those in need who was affected by the Tsunami. Their main aim is to restore local habitat and way of life, to preserve and protect local culture, as well as to promote the community’s economic potential through professional training.

Community-based Disaster Preparedness
Baan Nam Kem’s management is an excellent example for a holistic approach to disaster preparedness that is both practical and well-thought out. The fact that the Center was set up and run by locals gives them not only a sense of assurance that they know what’s going on, but also a realistic preparedness to continue living in the area that remains at risk.

Essential Preparation for a Disaster – the first 7 day “what to know” plan
1. Meeting point / emergency shelter – the community should agree on one single meeting point, on high ground, for everyone to converge to when a disaster strikes, without having to wait for other members of their family. As each individual arrives, they should also know their pre-agreed task at this emergency shelter. For example, members of the community should be divided into groups and take turn to oversee registration of survivors, cook food, secure the premise, launch search and rescue parties etc.

2. Canteen – food provision is one of the essential activities to begin immediately. Resources should be provided by local authorities. This location could also be used to store essential surviving equipment such as search and rescue boats and long-range radios.

3. Search and rescue parties – should comprise able volunteers and launch their mission as soon as possible. Priorities should be given to bringing out as many survivors as possible from the disaster area. Some volunteer may also be tasked to remain in the area to look out for more survivors, so food and supplies should also be provided to them.

4. Database – a team should also be tasked to update the community’s database of survivors and losses regularly, so that appropriate requests can be made to authorities for supplies and transport.

After Disaster Strikes
1. Data Analysis – the databases will be an essential source of information about the extent of damage inflicted upon the community by the disaster. Careful analysis of the databases will reveal what needs to be done further, tailoring aid from outside to be effective and efficient.

2. Community restoration plan – based on the above analysis, a restoration plan could be proposed to the central government at the earliest opportunity.

3. Community working groups – to carry out necessary work after the short-term restoration plan is complete.

4. Permanent Accommodation – should be provided to those affected as soon as possible.

Baan Nam Kem’s success in establishing community disaster preparedness has become a model for the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior, to inspire 18 other communities from around the country. The model has also been studied by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Sources:
2. Civil Society, Network and Community Participation in Configuring StrategicDevelopment Plan, Baan Nam Kem Community, Phang Nga Province. (2007) Usavagovitwong, Nattawut, and Khwansuwan, Poon. Journal of Architectural/Planning Research and Studies Volume 5. Issue 2.

Chaipattana-Thai Red Cross Village

Khura Buri District, Phang Nga Province

The 2004 Tsunami had caused severe damage to the local residents of Khuraburi district, Phang Nga Province. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn therefore commissioned the Chaipattana Foundation, Thai Red Cross, and other relevant agencies to respond promptly to the disaster by providing immediate relief that meets the traditional lifestyle of survivors, including the construction of a new village, basic infrastructure and a waste-water and solid -waste disposal system.

In Phang Nga province, 23 households in Thoong Nang Dum village and Pra Thong Island, Kuraburi District, lost their homes and some of them did not wish to return to live in the destroyed areas. Her Royal Highness, then asked the Chaipattana Foundation to purchase appropriate plots of land for the construction of permanent new housing. A plot of land measuring 5 rai (2 acres) at Kuraburi District was then purchased to establish the Chaipattana-Thai Red Cross Village-World Vision for those 23 households.

Pra Thong Island was another area which was seriously damaged. At the beginning, villagers of Baan Nam Khem were allocated to stay in temporary shelters on the mainland, which were not enough for everyone affected. Over 140 households still remained unaided. Then, the Chaipattana Foundation together with the Thai Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment prepared a proper location at Baan Thoong Rak, Kuraburi District with the total area of around 300 rai (120 acres) to set up the Chaipattana-Thai Red Cross Village (Baan Thoong Rak). Baan Thoong Rak is situated in the National Conserved Forest area which is 11 kilometers away from Pra Thong Island. The villagers who moved there can continue to earn their living through fishing, and at the same time learning how to live harmoniously with their environment according to His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.

After the short-term disaster relief programme, the Project also helped the victims with occupational restoration. Since they relied predominantly on fishery to make a living, small fiberglass fishing boats were built to replace the damaged boats and distributed to the victims. An occupational training group was formed to help the victims make their ends meet. At the same time, the Project carried out activities for public health services as well as education. Facilities built in the village are a child development center, a school, a health center, a public utility system as well as a quay.

Source: The Chaipattana Foundation

 
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