December 31, 2004: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Tsunami: Country Directors - Thailand: The Pocono Record: Thailand Peace Corps Country Director Ginny Kirkwood loses Thai property

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Special Report: 2004 - Tsunami hits Southeast Asia: December 31, 2004: Headlines: COS - Thailand: Tsunami: Country Directors - Thailand: The Pocono Record: Thailand Peace Corps Country Director Ginny Kirkwood loses Thai property

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 9:21 pm: Edit Post

Thailand Peace Corps Country Director Ginny Kirkwood loses Thai property

Thailand Peace Corps Country Director Ginny Kirkwood loses Thai property

Thailand Peace Corps Country Director Ginny Kirkwood loses Thai property

Shawnee Inn family loses Thai property

By Susan Koomar
The Pocono Record
Pocono, N.Y.
December 31, 2004

Peter Kirkwood's tropical paradise is ruined.

Thousands of people are dead on Phuket, the Thai island where he lives.

The half-million-dollar vacation homes Kirkwood develops are now disaster shelters. Friends are using Kirkwood's pickup truck to drive tsunami victims for medical treatment.

"This is a place I know and love," said Kirkwood, son of Charlie and Ginny Kirkwood of Shawnee-on-Delaware.

Kirkwood, 34, was en route from the Poconos to Colorado for a family vacation when he heard about the giant wave that ravaged his village, Kamala.

"When I got on the plane, all I knew was there had been a tidal wave," he said. "All my worst fears were realized. I couldn't have imagined the destruction. They tell me half the village is swamped."

The home he shares with wife, Elizabeth, was spared, but so much else is gone.

"They tell me the water stopped about 100 feet from our house," Kirkwood said. "To see streets I drive down, buildings I go into destroyed before my eyes is indescribable, so shocking."

He calls Phuket a world-famous tourist destination and everything the image of a tropical island conjures: beaches, exotic food and friendly natives.

"The Thai people are incredibly warm and welcoming. It's just a great place," said Kirkwood. "That makes it all the more tragic."

The island, developed with five-star resorts and beach bungalows, isn't primitive, Kirkwood said. It has an international airport and bridge to the mainland.

It's even similar to his family's domain, the Poconos.

"This is an island that's dependent on tourism," he said.

Kirkwood was born in Thailand, where his father practiced law from 1965-72. A few years later, his family bought Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, which suffered first-floor flooding after Hurricane Ivan in October. The inn reopened within a week.

Kirkwood and his wife are environmental lawyers who came home for the holidays before the catastrophe in Asia.

His first reaction was to rush back, but that would take days - and what would he do when he got there?

Instead, Kirkwood is establishing an Internet site to raise money for relief efforts. He and his wife will leave for Thailand this weekend and expect to return to Phuket by Friday.

"I personally am going to take (the money we raise) and make sure it's used in the most effective way possible," Kirkwood said. "Do we need to truck in water? Do we need to build shelters? Do we need to take care of bodies?"

Thailand is special to the Kirkwoods, where matriarch Ginny was director of the Peace Corps from 1990-93.

Peter Kirkwood is confident Phuket will survive.

"It's a resilient place. We're going to see it through this crisis," he said.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Peace Corps issues appeal to Thailand RPCVs Date: December 30 2004 No: 354 Peace Corps issues appeal to Thailand RPCVs
Peace Corps is currently assessing the situation in Thailand, anticipates a need for volunteers and is making an appeal to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps. Also read this message and this message from RPCVs in Thailand. All PCVs serving in Thailand are safe. Latest: Sri Lanka RPCVs, click here for info.

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Story Source: The Pocono Record

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Thailand; Tsunami; Country Directors - Thailand



By Anonymous ( - on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - 8:39 pm: Edit Post

I think the tsunami was sad

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