01/03/2005, 00.00
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Aid should be targeted, says Bangkok Cardinal

by Weena Kowitwanij
First, long-terms storable food and cooking tools are needed; next come housing and schools. Meanwhile, missioners say that many children thought orphaned are finding their parents.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Card Michael Michai Kitbunchu, Archbishop of Bangkok, said that nine days after a tsunami devastated south-east Asia, Churches around the world have offered their assistance to the Thai Catholic Church.

Cardinal Kitbunchu, who is also chairman of the Bishop' Conference of Thailand, said however that aid must be targeted. Careful consideration must be given as to how to best use aid in order to avoid waste.

"Some of our neighbours," the Cardinal said," are in a worse situation that us. We shall not profit from the situation but will consider the primary needs of the population telling donor exactly how and on what project their money will be spent".

Speaking about hardest-hit diocese of Surat Thani, in the southern part of the country, he said the Bishops' Conference will do its utmost to ensure that the "displaced find shelter".

"If it is feasible," he suggested, "we will launch a campaign asking every church in the world to rebuild a house" adding that it was also important to rebuild the schools "for all the children, but especially for those who lost their parents".

Despite the more than 150,000 victims, people can learn something from this catastrophe, according to Cardinal Kitbunchu. If nothing else, "this emergency," he insisted," must teach us to be responsible for the fate every human being regardless of race and religion."

In Thailand, he added, "believers of every confession are mourning the victims according to different rituals but all united by a sense of solidarity never seen before".

The Bishops' Conference of Thailand is collecting information to plan its short-term actions. Currently, there is enough food and clothing, but long-term storable food and cooking tools are needed.

Yesterday, Sunday mass collections were devolved to the Bishops' Conference to go to pay for its first aid operations.

At the same, reassuring news about the situation of children in Thailand are allaying fears provoked by allegations of tsunami orphan trafficking in neighbouring Indonesia.

PIME missioners told AsiaNews that many children are finally being reunited with their parents after their photos were broadcast on television, whilst others are being hosted by local families.

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See also
Meulaboh, a ghost town
Hope is found in faith in Tamil Nadu tragedy
Christians and Muslims pray for tsunami victims
Religious and caste discrimination in government aid distribution in Tamil Nadu
After tsunami cynicism assails Christians, Muslims and Hindus


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