Nearly 300 people sheltered from Bangkok’s floods by the Royal Thai Navy returned to their homes, giving their military benefactors heartfelt thanks as they left Sattahip.
Vice Adm. Chumpol Wongwekhin, head of navy relief efforts for Region 1, presided over the going-home ceremony for the 280 evacuees at the Air and Coastal Defense Command airfield Dec. 8.
Many of the refugees had tears in their eyes as naval personnel helped them onto three Bangkok-bound buses. Some gave the sailors flowers, had them sign their t-shirt and pledged lifelong friendship.
It’s a tearful goodbye for many of the flood victims that were rescued and evacuated to live at the military base in Sattahip.
Each of the evacuees received a bag of relief supplies, cleaning equipment and a cache of “bacteria balls” to try and disinfect any water remaining on their property.
Naval officers said they tried to provide the best living conditions they could after the evacuees arrived at the airfield’s hangers Oct. 28. The navy collected relief supplies from a number of sponsors, plus arranged entertainment, such as field trips to the navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Center.
Chumpol acknowledged that while the evacuees are happy to return home finally, they face a daunting recovery and cleanup effort to get their homes and lives back on track.