after the tsunami. So it's a historic opportunity to not only help families affected by the tsunami get their lives back, but to secure the peace and improve health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education, and protection for other [families] who have been isolated from the rest of the world.
"We've found that the conditions in tsunamiaffected and non-affected areas were equally bad" in many respects, continues Atwood. For example, "stunting and undernutrition were found in both areas, suggesting that there were persistent nutritional deficits affecting mothers as well as children. Immunization levels are low—we've even had a resurgence of polio in areas that were part of the conflict, where immunization levels had dropped to very low levels because of closure of government health clinics during the conflict. Schools were damaged or destroyed in both areas; teachers and health workers were missing from both as well. So, in the interest of equity and children's rights, we're trying to mobilize resources—human and financial—for the whole Aceh province."
Meanwhile, Aldis has been working on developing systems to manage the dead and missing. "We're very interested in how to institutionalize mass casualty management" and body identification
processes, he says, from basic measures like photography and dental films, biomarkers, and having families identify victims, to secondary measures such as DNA analysis and blood samples. In addition, he's "brought a team from the office of the chief medical examiner in New York City that had worked on the 9/11 World Trade Center attack" to collaborate with their counterparts in Thailand. Early next year, the Thai representatives will visit their colleagues in New York City to further what Aldis hopes will be a long-term working relationship. He's also interested in hospital and health facility reconstruction using earthquake-proof and flood-proof
Aldis is also setting up post-disaster disease surveillance systems. "All of those [are] supporting the national capacity in those areas, [which means] they're sustainable," he says.
architectural design principles. He has sent Thai building experts to Japan and Australia to learn those principles. He's also working on community- based mental health programs—aiding survivors who were traumatized by their experiences, who lost family members, or who are still afraid to go fishing. And he's setting up post-disaster disease surveillance systems. "All of those [are] supporting the national capacity in those areas, [which means] they're sustainable," he says. "We're added value in what they're already doing."
And he plans to go to Vietnam soon to meet with WHO representatives about bird flu and other health matters. "My interests are far beyond the drama of the immediate response," he says.