In the wake of floods that submerged homes, crops, factories and more, Caritas Internationalis is calling for EUR 506,494 to help the people of Thailand.
This year’s strikingly heavy monsoon rain led to flooding in the majority of Thailand’s provinces, affecting over 8 million people. Caritas Thailand immediately responded to the crisis by distributing food, soap, and other essentials to thousands of families through diocesan partners.
“In the provinces up north, it came as a surprise,” says Bishop Pibul Visitnondachai, President of the Social Pastoral Commission of the Church in Thailand. “Many people were not prepared and had no time to move themselves and their belongings.”
Though many sections of Bangkok were spared, the damage to factories and farms in the provinces has been extensive and far-reaching. Rice fields have been inundated, with small- scale farmers especially hard hit. Some families are living on the roofs of their houses or in emergency tree houses. Others are in tents.
Over 10,000 factories and businesses—employing over half a million workers–have also been affected. Thousands of workers may lose their jobs for several months until factories reopen. With infrastructure damaged, hygiene and sanitation are a concern.
As the crisis has intensified, Caritas has expanded its efforts. It plans to provide rice and vegetable seeds, along with microfinance grants, to help growers recover their farms. Caritas is also looking at livelihood recovery options for migrant workers and for factory workers who are unable to return to work in flood-damaged factories.
“Caritas Thailand has been reluctant to make an appeal for funds because of the many calamities around the world,” says Bishop Pibul, whose own house was flooded in 3 metres of water. “But we have received a letter of confidence and solidarity from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, together with a donation.” Because of the scale of the disaster, Caritas Thailand is now launching an appeal through Caritas Internationalis.
“My heart is heavy as I see how the people of Thailand are suffering,” says Bishop Pibul. “I ask for your prayers and solidarity with those affected.”
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