Order of Malta provides support to flood victims in Ubon Ratchathani
During September and October, Thailand is accustomed to heavy rain and at times flooding especially in the North East which is the heart land of rice farming industry. However this year neither the government nor the local people were prepared for the devastation of storms Podul and Kajiki that arrived early September and effected 400,000 households in 7,000 villages and killing 30 people.
Ubon Ratchathani province experienced its worst flooding in 17 years and was the most severely impacted with homes, hospitals, schools, town halls, churches and temples affected. Crops due to be harvested in December were destroyed which added to the hardship of the people in Ubon Ratchathani.
The Order of Malta travelled to Ubon to assist by delivering dry food, medicines, water, mosquito repellent, fungus creams and candles (most houses affected by the floods had no electricity) to those affected.
Flood waters meant that access to villages was still difficult. The Order of Malta joined the Ubon 40 Group who are mainly ex-military personnel, and their experience and military trucks were invaluable to enable access to impacted areas. However, even then, the water was still too deep to reach some villages.
Thanks to modern technology, messages were sent to the villagers and they arrived by boats or walked waist high in dirty water to get the parcels of food and survival kit supplies.
The members of the Order were in Ubon for two days and our help and assistance was greatly appreciated by the locals. Support continued over the following weeks with regular deliveries by the government and NGO’s.
The flood water is now subsiding, however the province faces further challenges.
With thousands of homes totally destroyed by flooding, at times rising to first and second floors, the houses, schools and churches have to be repaired.
As winter is now approaching Members of the Order are preparing to send a team to assist in the deliveries of blankets to be distributed on the World Day of the Poor on 17th November