Phi Phi Island Krabi Province Thailand
On my disaster relief trip to Thailand after the 2004 tsunami. I stayed a few days in Krabi town in a guest house. Then on Sunday I took a disaster relief boat to Phi Phi island, which had suffered much destruction. I happened to sit next to the island's doctor. I told him I was a hosptial chaplain and asked if I could join with him in his work. He agreed. There was still a lot of clean up there to do before they began reconstruction and there were residents and workers who needed spiritual and emotional support. I spent most of the day with the doctor from the island, who was there during the tsunami, he and his mother survived with one staff member but another member of his staff was killed. His office and the small hospital were badly damaged. We worked on salvaging some books and things from his office in the hospital. We talked with a man who lost not only his home, but his wife, his daughter, and his granddaughter. He didnít speak English well but I told him how sorry I was. P payed for the Lord's comfort and provision.
Then in the afternoon the doctor staffed a clinic in the lower level of what was a five star hotel, along with 3 nurses. I had a very good visit with one of them in her limited English she explained that she had gone to a Christian school as a child but in her adult years had followed Buddhism to honor her parents. She spent a long time reading and rereading my testimony and the Gospel that I translated. I also met two other doctors from Australia, newly weds who were honeymooning at the time of the tsunami. They were on the mainland at the time and after returning home started a foundation to help Thailand and now had returned to deliver a large shipment of medical supplies personally.
There is a narrow strip of land, like in Catalina with a bay on each side. The doctor I was with, said the worst of 3 waves were 30 meters high on one side and 10 meters high on the other side. So you needed to be up at least to the second story in the hotel or hospital building to not drown. There were about 750 known dead and at least than many more missing and presumed dead. The dead bodies were all taken back to Krabi, 1 1/2 hours by boat. Much of the trash, fabric, and mattresses were being burned while twisted metal and some concrete is being hauled away on barges. The smell of death was bad on the island, but I did not see any bodies.
A few years later Cindy and I visited the island, What a transformation. It was restored to a busy tourist hub. The waters are crystal clear, great for snorkerling. A nice day trip from Phuket or Krabi.