Unification News for February 2005
SFP Tsunami Relief Efforts
When the tsunami struck on December 26, it took several days for the world to recognize the full scope of the devastation and to mobilize the massive relief effort that is now providing help for those who survived. For many of the people in the areas surrounding the disaster sites, there was no choice but to rush forward to help in any way they could. In Thailand, 30 Service For Peace volunteers arrived in Phuket the day after the disaster and joined in the grim task of finding bodies and, hopefully, survivors among the wreckage. On December 30, they were joined by a group of volunteers from the Korean chapter of Service For Peace, including national director Song Yong Jang. All reported being initially overwhelmed by the chaos and misery that they witnessed.
Song Yong Jang was there to assess the situation and to decide on the best way in which Service For Peace could help. The most urgent needs are for food, water and medicine for the millions who had been left homeless. As these immediate needs are being addressed, however, there is a growing recognition of the need to care for the emotional needs of those who survived, especially the children. They have lost homes, schools, parents, siblings, friends and teachers and the psychological damage will take longer to repair than the physical destruction of their communities.
This is an area where Service For Peace can help. Both the Japanese and Korean chapters of SFP have extensive experience in conducting educational and recreational programs for children. Working together with students of psychology from Thai universities, the SFP volunteers are now working with the children of Phuket, playing with them, teaching them and providing comfort and reassurance when they are overwhelmed by what has happened. During January, the numbers of volunteers will grow as additional SFP volunteers from Japan, Korea and Taiwan arrive in Thailand. Service For Peace is currently developing a long term plan of action for its involvement in the disaster area, with a particular focus on the children who have suffered so much.Letter from SFP President
The devastation wrecked by the earthquake and tsunami in Asia last week is beyond our comprehension in terms of the loss of life and human suffering. Our heart goes out to the families of the victims and the survivors in South Asia who are continuing to suffer under adverse conditions.
Service For Peace is joining the international relief effort and we already have a small team on the ground in Thailand, which will be the focus of our efforts. More than 11,000 are dead and tens of thousands are injured or homeless in that country.
Mr. Sung Yong Jang, our International Vice President and two other staff members are now on site in assessing the needs and determining how Service For Peace can be most effective in offering help. They are currently based with other NGOs at the Phuket City Hall and have recruited local college students in immediate support of the disaster relief. This week their main task is assisting in the search for and identification of bodies.
The most urgent needs are for food, water, medicine and shelter. In the aftermath of the disaster, however, there will be a huge need for rebuilding and healing in the areas that have been affected and this is where our assistance may be most effective.
In the first phase of our efforts, we will do whatever we can to show our support for the hundreds of thousands of people who are currently homeless, hungry and grief-stricken as a result of this disaster. Every chapter, affiliate or associate of Service For Peace is encouraged to collect donations from volunteers and friends send to Service For Peace, Inc., 34 State Street , Ossining , NY 10562 designated for the Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund.
Charles T. Phillips Ph.D.
Service For Peace
34 State Street
Ossining , NY 10562-4622
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