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Temples Take Central Role in Bangkok Relief Work

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Writer admin Date03 Nov 2011 Read14,039 Comment0

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“Serious Damage in Northern Bangkok”
“Temples” Take Central Role in Relief Work


 
<Picture 1. The Jogye Order volunteer team in northern Bangkok,  area with most serious flood damage >
“It is impossible to stay at home because it is flooded with water coming up to our thighs. So, I came out to volunteering. I know it is not very safe to be here either, but I will give support to people until the very last moment”
At Bangkok temples, emergency relief supplies such as water and food are offered to the victims of the flood. On November 1st, The Jogye Order emergency relief team visited the Wat Phra Sri Mahathat, Bangkok that currently works as a shelter for nearby residents who lost their homes. The Jogye Order volunteers visited Denphong Suwannachairop (WFBY: World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth). He was busily preparing for lunch while wiping off sweats rolling down on his forehead. Denpong said, “There are some concerns that situation may worsen, but we will continue on with our activities,” and added, “Thank you very much for coming to help during these difficult times.” 
The Bangkok temple currently operates a soup kitchen under the name “World Buddhist Kitchen”, sponsored by WFB (The World Fellowship of Buddhists). The kitchen prepares and delivers 10,000 lunches to 10 schools and temples which were turned into shelters. Phallop Thaiarry, Secretary General of The WFB,moved together with the Jogye Order volunteer team to explain the devastating reality of what is happening in Bangkok. He said, “Bangkok can not be completely freed from the large currents of nearby river. We desperately need more water, dried food, and first aid supplies.” Thiarry predicts that more than a month may be needed to recover from the flood damage. The WFB is currently taking a central role in flood relief work in Bangkok, providing not only food to the victims, but also distributing 500 boats that can accommodate 10~12 people and ten thousand first aid medical supplies.


< Flooded Road in Bangkok>
Accessing the temple was very difficult for the Jogye Order volunteer team. The temple to be visited was merely 6 km away from Donmuang Airport, already shut down due to inaccessible flooded runway. Moving outside of Sukhumvit central Bangkok andas we approached northern Bangkok, we could feel it in our skin that damage was getting a lot more severe.


 
<Buddhist Monks commuting by boat>
After travelling for more than 20 minutes by road, we could easily spot bungalows already under water. With water up to their waist, local people were moving about with slow and difficult steps. In case of further damage by flooding, sand bags were stacked over the river banks and more than 10 soldiers were guarding the entrance. Once we reached the destination, residents commuting by boat between flooded houses can be spotted. On the last day, the Jogye volunteer team joined the native volunteer group and moved from a temple to nearby village to distribute emergency supplies.

               Ven. Myojang, Director of Social Welfare Foundation stated “It is excellent to see Buddhist monks demonstrating in action what Buddha had taught,” and added “Upon our return to Korea, Jogye Order will actively explore the ways to help Thailand flood victims.”
 
 

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