Thai Red Cross helps half a million people as waters approach Bangkok

Published: 12 October 2011 15:54 CET

Almost 2.3 million people have been affected as nearly four months of heavy flooding has washed its way down from Thailand’s Northern provinces to the outskirts of the capital of Bangkok.

“This is the worst monsoon season since 1949,” said Dr Amnat Barlee, director of the Thai Red Cross Relief and Community Health Bureau. “The situation is dramatic (...) more than 200 people have died, and thousands of families have had to evacuate their homes, which were severely damaged by the floods.”

This flooding is the result of heavy monsoon rains coupled with the continued arrival of the remnants of tropical storms and typhoons that have made their way across the South China Sea through Viet Nam and Lao, and eventually to the north of Thailand.

The Thai Red Cross has been responding to these floods since late June. So far, volunteers and staff have reached more than 500,000 people in 32 of the 60 flooded provinces.

More than 118,000 families have received kits, made up of essential household items, including food and bottled water. Two Red Cross emergency kitchens are also active in Ayutthaya and Chainat Provinces, each of them producing about 4,000 hot meals a day.

Thai Red Cross teams have also been involved in evacuating people to safety and have provided flood-affected communities with latrines.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided assitance to 8,000 detainees in various prisons across Ayutthaya Province.

With the monsoon season set to continue through the rest of October and into November, the immediate future of flood affected communities remains unclear. Even when the waters recede, challenges will remain.

Tens of thousands of homes and business have been damaged or destroyed. More than 3.8 million acres of farmland and more than 9.9 million head of livestock have been affected. Many of the communities affected are dependent on agriculture, and must now wait to replant their lost crops. In the meantime, ongoing help may be required.

“It’s not over for people when the water goes,” said Dr Barlee.