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Panel discussion on tsunami recovery in Thailand at UH Hilo Oct. 28

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Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The public is invited to hear a panel of tsunami recovery specialists with first-hand experience in Thailand discuss “Ten Months After the Tsunami” on Friday, October 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m., in the University of Hawaii at HiloUCB 100. There is no admission charge.

The panelists, direct from the impact zone, have been working in southern Thailand on sustainable recovery projects following the December 26, 2004 tsunami. Speaking on Friday will be Dr. Bunchar Pongpanich and Professor Nukul Ruttanadakul of Thailand, both of whom will discuss economic, social, and environmental recovery efforts, and Dr. Kevin Hopkins of Hilo, who will speak on rejuvenating fishing communities and coastal resources.

Pongpanich, a former Buddhist monk, now a medical doctor, community volunteer and social activist, is from the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat in southernmost Thailand. He chairs the Save Andaman Network, a coalition of non-government organizations assisting in tsunami recovery. He is a member of the Thai government’s National Reconciliation Commission, which focuses on resolving political conflicts among Muslims and Buddhists in southern Thailand.

Ruttanadakul is a biological ecologist, ornithologist, environmentalist, and social activist based since 1978 at Prince of Songhkla University in Pattani in southern
Thailand. His teaching and research focus on rural Thai culture, sustainable natural resource management, traditional environmental knowledge, biodiversity, conservation, and river and coastal ecosystems.

Hopkins, an aquaculture professor at UH Hilo, is interim director of the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at Keaukaha and Panaewa. He recently returned from Ranong province, Thailand, where he participated in a U.S.-funded program to rejuvenate five fishing communities. The program focuses on redesigning the coastal infrastructure to withstand future tsunami, restarting fishing livelihoods, and training communities in fisheries management, hazard mitigation, and the development of an early warning system and evacuation plan.

Moderator of the panel discussion will be Dr. Craig Severance, an anthropology professor at UH Hilo. Severance is an expert in fisheries management and serves as a volunteer advisor to the federal government on fishery management policy and related social and economic impacts on fishing communities.

The event is sponsored by the UH Hilo Anthropology Club and the Office of the Chancellor.

Visitors are asked to enter the UH Hilo campus at the main entrance on West Kawili Street. Parking is free.

For additional information, call Susie Collins at 936-0072.

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