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Thai tsunami’s survival tale at Kochi

Nov 26. 2016
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By The Nation
Kuroshio, Kochi

She could not see the tall Caucasian man in a swimming trunk who whisked her onto his shoulder and then run up to the hill at Phi Phi Island on the fateful morning of Christmas Day in 2004. “He just saved my life,” now Sarintra Chamnansong, 15, got to live until today to recount what happened to her that day when she was only 4 years old playing at a beach front in the southern island’s beach.

“When the tsumani hit Phi Phi Island, my dad was away at sea. So, he was safe. But my mom was killed trying to look for me after the first tsunami stuck, not knowing that I was up in the hill. She did not know that the second one would come soon. She could not run away and was killed by the following tsunami,” she recalled.

Sarintra, a student of Nongthalay WIttaya high school, Krabi said that she was happy to share her life story and the threats of tsunami to her fellow friends and students from around the world. The event is the World Tsunami Awareness Day, which was opened officially by the city’s major Katsuya Onishi in the southern island of Shikoku.

A total of 670 students attend, half of them coming from 29 countries. They will discuss and learn from one another to take out the best practices so they can use in their countries and local settings.

She also joined several other survivors from Asean countries who have been similar natural disasters. One of them is Ibu Aminah, Daud, 55, director of State High School No. 1 in Bandar Aceh. Her story was grim and tearful. Before the tsunami struck her school, the total number of students was 540. Only 98 of them survived the tsunami. What was worse, 39 of 56 teachers were killed. “It was devastating,” she said. But then she refused to give up. With the assistance from the government and international community, her school was able to recover and accepting students again. Now the school has 365 students.

This awareness campaign is aimed at promoting international awareness of future leaders—youth—about the threat of natural disaster. Last year, the UN General Assembly adopted November 5 as the World Tsunami Awareness Day.” During the second day, the participants will attend breakouts sessions and workshops.

Three Japanese students from Miyagi Prefecture will share the story of areas devastated by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

At the end of the meeting, the Kuroshio Declaration will be adopted outlining all action plans to reduce the risks of natural disasters, preparations for natural disasters including recovery and reconstruction from those damages.

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