Thailand floods 2011 – Volunteering for relief

This monsoon season and its heavy floods have been the worst in 50 years in Thailand. So far, there have been nearly 300 reported deaths, over two million people affected (with 110,000 people left homeless) and damages are estimated up to US$ 5.1 billion. And water levels are continuing to rise due to heavy rain falls, high tides in the Gulf of Thailand and flood run-off from the swamped north of Thailand. Unfortunately, rural areas have been affected the worse, leaving paddy and rice fields and crops destroyed. Scandalously, these paddy and rice fields are also used as water retention areas in order to keep Bangkok protected. While millions of people are affected and their homes are flooded, the ‘economic centre’ of the country remains dry.

For a map with updated information on affected areas, click here and here.

In order to provide relief, several volunteer initiatives have been established in Bangkok and the rest of the country. For people living in Thailand, I think volunteering for relief to flood victims is a great way to spend your time and to do something about this devastating situation. I have been to two different centres so far and while there is a difference in coordination and effectiveness, all efforts help to provide the people in need with materials for survival and care. Additionally, I noticed that you don’t even have to speak Thai necessarily. You may not always get all announcements, but people realise soon enough that you’re not Thai and they surprisingly switch to English to update you on the situation and to strike up a conversation. So, there is no reason not to help out if you have the time to spare. In addition to donating food, clothing and money, dedicated manpower is surely needed as well.

A Flood Relief Operations Center has been set up at Don Mueang Airport to coordinate the delivery of aid. Volunteers are needed from 9 am – 8 pm to aid in monitoring the situation and statistics, pack sustenance kits and load them onto the trucks for delivery in affected areas. Volunteers are also needed to go to the affected areas to aid in the distribution of the sustenance kits.

The stadium at Rangsit Campus of Thammasat University is serving as a shelter for evacuees, mostly from Ayutthaya. They are in need of volunteers to help pack sandbags.

The Thai Red Cross (Siam/Sam Yan) and the Bangkok Hospital (Rama 9) needs volunteers to help pack emergency bags.

ArsaDusit Group has set up a volunteer centre for relief in the Krungthai Bank building (Ploenchit). Volunteers are needed to help pack food and water supply kits.

Additionally, The Nation lists daily updates regarding flood relief here.