Thai religious communities respond to flood crisis

Thai religious communities respond to flood crisis

Religious communities in Thailand are responding to a continuing flood crisis resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the last three months. At least 373 people are reported to have died and flooding has reached the capital city of Bangkok.

Buddhadharma, a Buddhist online news site, has reported that Wat Sa Ket, or “the Temple of the Golden Mount” in Bangkok, is offering counseling to flood victims. In conjunction with the National Office of Buddhism, the initiative is called Dharma for the Mental Rehabilitation of Flood Victims — mobilising some 200 monks “with training in Buddhist psychology and counselling” to various evacuation sites.

Many Buddhist temples are already flooded. On October 29, The Bangkok Post reported that flood waters from the Chao Phraya River crept into the grounds of Wat Phra Kaew — the Grand Palace and temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most revered Buddhist temple in the city.

Meanwhile, Thai Muslims Support Victims, a non-profit Islamic group in Bangkok, is using Facebook to update their relief operations.

A spokesman for the Church of Christ in Thailand, Prawate Khid-arn, located in Chiang Mai, said that on October 31 “a truck loaded with rice, drinking water, instant noodles, dry food and vegetables went to Nakorn Phathom province where over 200 church members as well as other villagers are stranded in the remote areas.”

On November 2, he added, two other trucks headed out to remote provinces. “For a long rehabilitation program, an integrated strategic plan is being drafted,” he said.

The Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand said on its website that Archimandrite Oleg, the church’s representative, asked for “fundraising for the needs of the flood victims in all parishes of the Orthodox Church in Thailand.” He also suggested setting up “ecclesiastical concerts of the church choirs in all resort cities, simultaneously fundraising for the needs of sufferers.”

The Thai Catholic Church, via the Catholic aid agency Caritas and its Refugee and Emergency Commission, launched a plan to help flood victims in the provinces and the capital, AsiaNews.it, a Roman Catholic news service, reported on October 26.

Speaking on behalf of Christ Church Bangkok, an English-speaking Anglican church, the Rev. Peter Cook commented “we continue to pray for the people and communities who are flooded and live in fear of flood. This includes a number of Christ Church people. We will soon be planning how we can help with aid once the immediate crisis is over.”

By Hisashi Yukimoto, Ecumenical News International

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