Chonburi offers shelter, relief to Thai flood victims

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So far spared the flooding that has devastated much of the country, Chonburi has begun taking thousands of evacuees from Bangkok and central Thailand.

More than 10,000 refugees from the Rangsit and Don Muang International Airport evacuation centers – which finally succumbed to flooding themselves – began arriving in the province last week. For many, it was their second refugee center since the flood crisis moved into the Bangkok metropolitan region last month.

Evacuees depart from buses in Chonburi.  For some, it was their second evacuation since the flood crisis moved into the Bangkok metropolitan region last month. Evacuees depart from buses in Chonburi.  For some, it was their second evacuation since the flood crisis moved into the Bangkok metropolitan region last month.

About 8,000 evacuees are being split equally between the Institute of Physical Education’s Chonburi Campus and Chonburi Sports Academy. Groups of 1,000 flood victims each also will go to the Chonburi Ruam Jai Sala and U-Tapao Temple, About 2,000 will be housed at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo’s Boy Scout Camp in Sriracha and groups of 200 to 500 will be dispatched to Khao Bang Thrai Temple, the Institute for Skill Development’s Region 3 campus, the Provincial Police Training Academy, and Chonburi Community Development and Learning.

With these centers all filling up to capacity, plans are also afoot to start housing refugees at the Indoor Sports Arena and other places here in Pattaya.

Culture Minister Sukamol Kunplome and Chonburi Gov. Wichit Chatpaisit inspected the Institute of Physical Education and Chonburi Sports School Oct. 25 to complete preparations for the first load of evacuees arriving that day.

Sukamol called for the deployment of 2,000 liters of drinking water and for opaque shields to be installed in the women’s shower and more restrooms constructed.

She also requested that medical teams be made available for each building. Public Health specialist Dr. Marut Jitsetsiri said area hospitals are donating staff to man the shelter medical teams and that any serious cases will be transferred immediately to Chonburi Hospital, which has up to 30 beds standing by.

The province also set up 20-member public relations teams to meet with evacuees daily to ensure the best living conditions possible under the circumstances. Evacuees dined in 10 tents even as the Chonburi Red Cross appealed for more food donations.

As relocated victims poured in, The gym floor quickly came to resemble a colorful patchwork of red mats, dome tents and sprawling bodies. Downstairs hordes of volunteers bustled about, handing out basic supplies, giving financial advice and even organizing local trips to lift people’s spirits.

Lukthung TV Thai owner Veerawat Yomjinda is doing his part to brighten the refugees’ lives, organizing a free concert at the flood relief center featuring Tik Shiro, Sek Loso and other musical acts.

Wichit said Chonburi is ready to assist any flood victims in need of help, with facilities that provide safety, meals, electricity, drainage and communication. To aid the Institute of Physical Education, contact Supaporn at 089-1577159 or Surinrat at 081-8649987.