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Thai Red Cross Flood Relief

The Thailand Red Cross is the way that most foreigners will donate money to the Thai flood appeal. They in turn buy food and medicine, and together with donations from suppliers, they prepare red cross bags, each bag tailored to each problem.

For the floods there is tinned & dried food, essential hygiene articles, staples like rice, perhaps a toy for the children, and a small quantity of household medicine; things like paracetamol, anti diarrhea tables, vitamins, salt - essential for re hydration, and anti-fungal cream.

I thought Cassa Khiewchanta had cornered all the anti-fungal cream, but the Red Cross had plenty too, so perhaps I can put away my gun.

All of this food and medicine arrives in big pallets from the factories, and needs to be packed into individual bags for delivery to the flood victims. An army of volunteers does this work. You turn up, sign in, work the day, they have food for you and water, but in exchange you have to work and it's hard work too. The final packing line is back breaking, the truck delivery men do even harder labour.

bags-of-food-packed.jpg

Several smaller production lines make each part of the bag, then in a frantic rush of people those parts are assembled into bags, tied, taken away, wrapped into bigger sacks, and loaded on the trucks waiting outside - that final assembly is so frantic it happens all in about 20 minutes. When the session finishes, a cheer goes up as people celebrate their work.

There is a morning session and an afternoon session, with some production lines running all day.

I was too late to sign in, there were enough volunteers already, but rather than wait for the afternoon session, I went to visit my friend working on floor 4, only to be roped into that assembly line until they had enough flood packs for their store. Then I got roped into floor 6 to assemble the general medicine pack, which is used in the flood pack and in other aid cases. Then downstairs I got roped in to the loading line to ship the finished bags. I got roped into a lot of things given there were already enough volunteers!!

The Thai Red Cross web page can be found here, currently showing details of how to donate to the Thailand flood appeal.

Below is a map of where to help the packing effort, show up in the morning before 10am, or before 1pm for the afternoon session, with a native Thai speaker to explain what you have to do. As the organizers need help, a shout will go out and volunteers form an assembly line to make that part, or load that truck, or move those boxes, or build those parts. Be flexible, be helpful, be fast and consistent and, as you can see from the videos, several foreigners were helping too. But also realize that the video is 2 minutes long because it was the only 2 minutes I had free in among the whole day of hard assembly line packing.

It's work, but it's work that rewards the heart.

Note: Mo Chit/Chatuchak has flooded and Don Muang, the old airport, is now so high the aircraft on the runway have flooded engines - those will need to be stripped down once the flood water has gone. But for the moment the main effort is on people.


View Flood Relief Effort, Thai Red Cross in a larger map

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