Regent’s School Pattaya responds to the floods in North Thailand

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As part of the Service Pillar of Round Square and the philosophy of our school to respond to and help our local community, The Regent’s School community, led by the Secondary Student Guild, collected two large piles of food, drinking water, torches, candles, batteries and clothes over a 24 hour period at the beginning of November.  This was enough to fill seven large pick-up trucks all supplied by Regent’s staff, parents and the school itself.  On Wednesday 3rd November at 5 a.m. the convoy of pick-ups with eight Secondary students and two Primary students, three academic staff, two Thai admin. staff, and two Regent’s families set off towards Ayutthaya and Singburi Provinces to help those most affected by the floods.

Local people row out from their flooded homes to receive some aid.Local people row out from their flooded homes to receive some aid.

Flood Reflections

On the 3rd of November, I joined a group of Regents students, teachers, gap staff and parents to assist with flood relief in an area North of Bangkok. We left the school in the early morning, and started our long car ride towards our destination. When we first entered a badly affected area, and drove through the town, I was shocked. There was water everywhere – normal roads had been transformed into rivers, and entire houses had been submerged. There were many people on the street, attempting to clear some of the water out of their houses.

Regent’s students and parents provide aid to the local temple to distribute.Regent’s students and parents provide aid to the local temple to distribute.

Our group split into two when it came to giving out the actual aid. My group loaded food and supplies onto a boat, and went out onto the river to try to give aid to those who had been trapped due to the water. We handed out food to monks staying in a temple, and to many local people.

As soon as we stopped the boat in the middle of the river to start handing out food, we were surrounded by many people in paddle boats, all desperate for supplies of any kind. Although we tried our best, we weren’t able to meet the needs of the people – many of them were pushing and shoving in order to get more food. This was one of the main points our group discussed on the way back – were people really desperate or just greedy when it came to free supplies?

Overall, it was a moving day, which by the end, we all felt as though we had accomplished something. – Francesca Conde (IB exchange student)

A monk is pleased to see the Regent’s relief team.

A monk is pleased to see the Regent’s relief team.

On the 3rd of November seven students of the Regent’s School Pattaya went to the north of Bangkok in Ayutthaya province.  We went to support the people in need who had been suffering for weeks from the bad flooding that had been occurring in Thailand. We were accompanied by a few Thai monks and the Wilcox family who had helped organize this trip. We had about 7 pick-up trucks fully loaded with aid packages including rice, bread, noodles, and clothes.

A local house showing the level of the flood waters. A local house showing the level of the flood waters.

It was a long drive but once we got closer we could see with our own eyes how serious this flood had affected the community. Houses were flooded, the lawns were invisible.  People were standing helpless on the street. Sandbags were being filled everywhere.

Francesca and Dominic distribute food packets to the local people.Francesca and Dominic distribute food packets to the local people.

Seeing this kind of natural disaster on television is one sort of view but this was a much more distressing experience for all of us. Once we arrived at a local village where we handed out the aid we saw a group of old women waiting in their boats to collect whatever they could. I had a conversation with one of the old ladies who was waiting for our aid and asked her what her views were. She told me that her house was unreachable by foot or motorbike and they were getting no aid at all. Their children had to stay home and couldn’t go to school, she had no job. She told me she only received 500 baht a month so survive with her family and that she was very thankful to us.

Regent’s students, staff and Kwanshanok in front of the loaded pick-up trucks.Regent’s students, staff and Kwanshanok in front of the loaded pick-up trucks.

Being able to go there and make them happy with one bag of rice makes you feel fair, but having to know this is all we can give makes us feel remorseful and helpless. This trip really has made me / us think about how aid is fairly important and we could do so much more than just donating money. I hope we can improve our future charity events and actions to really help the people directly in need. – Deuan Van Zootvart (IB student)

For someone who had been to Ayutthaya before, seeing the flood was quite shocking. The amount of water overtaking innocent peoples homes, and how a majority of them were unable to do anything about it due to health problems or low income. I tried to put myself in their position, and imagine how I’d feel, as a response to everything. The only emotion I was able to put forward was helplessness. But you never really know until you practically slip yourself into someone else’s shoes.

I was, on the other hand, grateful I got the chance to take part throughout this day. It was relieving to have been able to help the people out as much as we could, even if it was the smallest of things. The smiles on every individual’s face lightened my day. I would go back to help right this moment if I was asked to. A bit of heart goes a long way. – Abeera Khan (IB student / Student Guild Visual Arts Director)

As we approached our destination there was flooding everywhere. The local people had tried to prevent the water from flowing into their houses and onto the roads by using sandbags as a method of control although there was a great abundance of flowing water and water was flowing over the sandbags flooding the roads.

All the cars loaded with aid that came with us parked on a bridge and a small boat came which we all helped to load with the aid we’d brought. Once we’d loaded the boat, four of us embarked the boat and we set off. The man guiding our boat told us the area used to be fields used for agriculture, now all we could see was the tops of trees and houses as everything else was submerged in water.

First the man took us to a small temple where we provided monks with sufficient aid, we prayed and they thanked us for what we’d provided. Then we travelled down the river, past many houses, the people who lived in these houses came on their small rafts and we gave each family bags of aid. Most people were extremely grateful, whereas, others seemed very greedy as they kept asking for more, they’d hide the bags of food and water we’d given them and ask for more. This showed us that some people become dependent on the aid given.

Once we’d given out all the aid we’d loaded onto our boat, we had to head back to the cars to load up with more aid. As we were leaving there were many families which hadn’t received any aid due to others taking too much. This was extremely sad as no matter how much aid we provided we’d never be able to provide for everyone as too many people were affected by these floods. – Zanzibar Garnett-Spear (IB student)

There is obviously a lot more that could be done to support the Thai people in these flood affected areas.  A similar, if not worse scenario, is also occurring in the South of Thailand.  The Regent’s School Pattaya has decided to visit the provinces in the north again during the week of Loy Krathong and to deliver a second convoy of aid to help the communities most affected during this holiday period.  If you would like to support this project or be involved in anyway then please contact Paul Crouch at: [email protected]