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Press Release

27 January 2005 15th Magh, Nanakshahi

UNITED SIKHS continues Its relief efforts in the devestated Thai island of Phi Phi

Bangkok, Thailand: The UNITED SIKHS Relief Team, along with two Thai counselors and members of the Hi Phi Phi organization, have been continuously providing medical assistance and counseling to survivors of Phi Phi Island. In the effort to serve the needs of the devastated community, base camp was setup with help of Hi Phi Phi to see patients daily 10 am to 4 pm. There are about 3000 survivors in Phi Phi, many of which are in need of the essential services that UNITED SIKHS and the accompanying volunteers are providing.

The UNITED SIKHS Relief team visited Phi Phi Island and found that the island had been evacuated after the Tsunami. There is a curfew being enforced against visiting the island. However, UNITED SIKHS and Hi Phi Phi have received special permission to visit the island and attend to the suffering island's inhabitants' needs. "Although some of the disaster has been clean up, it still looked like bombs destroyed the once most beautiful island in Thailand. The mess is still there, the liveliness has completely vanished," said Jasvir Kaur, Team Lead of the UNITED SIKHS Thailand Tsunami relief team.

"Most of the patients have just flu-like symptoms, as well as wounds that are infected or just need redressing and pain and anxiety complaints" said Dr Baljinder Singh and Dr Sagina Kaur.

UNITED SIKH bought medicines locally and dispensed many pain-killers, topical antibiotics, antihistamines, inhalers and blood pressure medications. Sadly, even the government of the Phi Phi Island has been unable to help but only been able to witness the wrath of the tsunami on Phi Phi Island and its people.

Doctor seeing patients
Photograph 1. Doctor seeing patients.

The UNITED SIKHS Tsunami relief and volunteers from Hi Phi Phi traveled to the affected islands by boat. First, they visited Khao Chum, where many of the poor residents of the islands reside, including the sea gypsies, which treated like third class citizens. They live in broken down wooden homes and no are no doctors are available to attend to their needs. While Hi Phi Phi collected information on the orphans, the UNITED SIKHS Relief Team saw about 40 patients in a matter of 2 hours, provided medications and served Langar to the suffering people.

In the Phi Phi Islands, there are still more than 950 people missing. The inhabitants of Hi Phi Phi are reluctant to return to the place where their family life was destroyed, their relatives missing or dead, their possessions gone, and to the nightmares they have of horrendous day. The Island has become a ghost town full of tragic memories and immense sadness.

"I am very glad to be given the opportunity to help those in immediate need…it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Nothing is more fulfilling than creating a sense of hope and well-being in those that are in need," said Inder Kaur, an Industrial Designer from Chicago, Illinois.

Volunteers serving Langar
Photograph 2. Volunteers serving Langar.

Along with the relief effort with Hi Phi Phi, UNITED SIKHS and "Mae Ta Tham", a Thailand based humanitarian Organization, represented the Sikhs in an "Inter religious" prayer organized by Thai government on Jan 19th, at Khao Lak. Thousands of people from various faiths including Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews joined in the prayer service. 20,000 lanterns were lit and sent up into the sky as a sign of hope and prayer.

"It was beautiful to see the entire world gathered there irrespective of religion, caste or creed, all Communities joined together as ONE, in the "EK" spirit, to pray for each other and seek God's Blessings." said Amarjit Kaur, UNITED SIKHS Thailand.

The UNITED SIKHS Relief Team was overwhelmed by the generosity of local Sikhs in Thailand. The Relief Team was honored at the Bangkok Gurudwara with "saropas". Amarjit Kaur, Project Lead of the Tsunami Relief Tean and Sardool Singh were instrumental in relief operation in Thailand.

UNITED SIKHS volunteers at prayer ground
Photograph 3. UNITED SIKHS volunteers at prayer ground.

Jasvir Kaur, the UNITED SIKHS team-lead for Thailand said "At least forty-five orphans have been identified on the island of Phi Phi. We are working with Hi Phi Phi to sponser these orphans till the age of 18. Our objective is to encourage them to become educated individuals and give them a hope for their future. We came here as we had an opportunity to give medical aid and do seva as emphasized by our Guru and the desire to provide education. We hope to instill that into these youngster as well."

UNITED SIKHS has drafted long-term rehabilitation programs for Thai victims and sponsors children who have lost their family in ocean waves. It is the sincerest hope of UNITED SIKHS that the service being rendered to the devastated communities being together the people and help them rebuild their lives.


UNITED SIKHS will update you as we receive reports. For Relief Team updates see:
http://www.unitedsikhs.org/ghanaia/fieldreport.html


Please donate, even if you cannot give a lot. Your contribution will help victims directly.

http://www.unitedsikhs.org/reliefproject.html#donate

You may donate online by clicking above, or by cheque payable to UNITED SIKHS, and mail to a UNITED SIKHS regional office.


For more information on the GHANAIA tsunami project, e-mail us on:
contact@unitedsikhs.org


Our Mission

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.