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Locals Get Involved With Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Effort

  

For the past weeks, we have heard about the tragedy of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. It is virtually impossible for us to comprehend the magnitude of the tragedy. Yet, we can't help but feel compassion and a burning need to help the affected.

It is difficult to ascertain how we can best help out, because the affected region is an area that is not well understood by most. Thailand was just one area that was devastated by the Tsunami. Dr. Richard and Ying Moss, of Dubois County, appeared on Gary's Place on WITZ to tell of Thailand's devastation. According to the couple, whatThai- land needs most is money.

Ying Moss is a native of Thai-land. Her husband, Richard, is an Ears, Nose, and Throat Specialist in Jasper. He worked in Thailand from 1988 to 1991. He met Ying while she was working as a nurse at one of the hospitals.

In Thailand, the Tsunami was described as a huge wall of water that caused pure horror, broke up families, caused devastation, and created a pure sense of hopelessness. The tsunami hit the poorest areas in Thailand, where these people now have no homes, and are forced to live in the most primitive circumstances.

While the death toll continues to climb, we may never know the full extent of the devastation, not only in Thailand, but in all of the affected areas.

According to Richard and Yin, Thailand's economy is dependent upon fishing and tourism. Many of the country's "bread winners" were killed and many tourists were deterred by the massive Tsunami. Because there is so much lost income in Thailand, the country needs financial donations from others in order to restore the situation and rebuild.

A friend of Ying's, who is a nurse in Phuket, Thailand, said that recovery will be a long process. She believes that it could take as long as 3 years to bring the tourists back who are imperative to the country's economy.

Dr. Moss predicts a faster recovery for Thailand because its people are "surprisingly smart, and progressed". He said that they will use all their energy and re-sources to make a quick recovery. He predicts that areas like Sri Lanka and Indonesia will have a tougher time bouncing back.

America was quickly criticized by the UN in the aftermath of the Tsunami for its response to the tragedy. Dr. Moss said that "America was very generous" and that he was "proud of the response". Ying added that "America is one of the most generous countries in the world. Jam grateful to America for rebuilding our country."

Although financial contributions are most necessary to the recovery and rebuilding of Thai-land, Ying was quick to add that each country's needs are different. At least 11 countries were affected and each has its own recovery needs.

The American Red Cross has been a leader in Tsunami Relief. The local Red Cross has also been able to assist in the relief efforts despite an extraordinarily busy few months. The Red Cross has been accepting donations for the Tsunami relief effort in addition to accepting donations to be used toward flood relief, aid to victims of the recent fires t hat have plagued the area. and donations to aid those affected by severe weather.

Students at Huntingburg Elementary School got involved in the fundraising efforts. The 5th graders sent notices home to parents about a popcorn and soda sale they were going to have to raise money for the Tsunami relief. On Friday morning, parents and 5th Graders congregated in the school's cafeteria to begin pop-ping and bagging the popcorn. Students were able to purchase popcorn and soda for S1. The Huntingburg Fifth Graders will present a check to Tina Dearing, Director of the Red Cross in Huntingburg , later this afternoon. The check, in the amount of $881.00, represents the total proceeds from the fundraiser

While many Hoosiers are re-building after destruction caused by severe weather and flooding, the devastation caused by the Indian Ocean Tsunami still requires assistance. In fact, long term assistance will be required to help re-build the region. Whatever the donation may be. there is no amount too big or small. All of the donations add up, according to Dr. Moss.

Dearing asked that those interested in donating to the Tsunami relief send donations to the American Red Cross, 312 Main St, Huntingburg IN, clearly labelled for Tsunami relief. Donations can also be sent care of Dr. Richard Moss, 721 W. 13th Street, Jasper, Indiana.

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