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Volunteers stream in to help flood victims across country

Posted by arnon_k On October - 12 - 2011

People from all strata of society join in

People from all walks of life are working tirelessly to pack donated goods at Don Mueang airport for people around the country who have been affected by the floods.

Volunteers of all ages yesterday were busy packing food supplies, bottled water, clothing and other donated goods on the first floor of the airport’s terminal building, which has been turned into the government’s flood relief operations centre. Most volunteers live in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.

Chalerm Changthongmadan, chairman of the Hired Motorcycle Taxi Drivers Association, has brought about 30 association members to help pack donated goods since Monday.

He said motorcycle taxi drivers from all parts of Bangkok would take turns helping pack donated items at the flood relief operations centre every day.

Saipin Lojaya, a 64-year-old retired government official in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district, said she was determined to do her part in helping flood victims. Having experienced flooding herself in 1983, she said she knows how flood victims are suffering.

“If I didn’t come this time, I don’t know whether I will ever have a chance to help people hit by floods again. I will keep coming to the centre,” said Ms Saipin, while packing items into a relief bag. Ms Saipin said she had also donated goods and cash at the centre.

Suthidawan Thongmee, 28, said news that volunteers were needed to help pack supplies for flood victims had prompted her and her two siblings to go to the centre. She spent her days off from work packing food supplies and other relief items.

She said she was impressed with the generosity of Thais in helping others in a time of hardship.

Other volunteers, among them children and the elderly, arrived at the centre yesterday to help pack donated goods. Jobs were clearly divided among them. Some groups were responsible for separating goods while others put items into relief bags.

One group of volunteers formed a long queue to carry the bags to awaiting trucks which will deliver them to flood-hit areas across the country.

Wim Rungwattanajinda, secretary of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and spokesman for the government’s flood relief operations centre, said initially there had been heavy traffic on roads leading to flood-hit provinces, particularly worst-hit Ayutthaya province, as many private vehicles carrying relief supplies were trying to reach the affected areas.

This had hampered the government’s efforts to evacuate flood victims, especially the elderly.

To solve the problem, the government set up the flood relief centre at Don Mueang to receive donations and distribute them to flood victims, he said.

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