Thais are getting increasingly desperate as the pandemic destroys the economy and the government struggles to respond.
FOOD DONATIONS THE 'NEW NORM' IN THAILAND
Long lines of unemployed relying on free food across the country, scrambles for cash handouts and fishing in the canals of Bangkok, Thais are getting increasingly desperate as the pandemic destroys the economy and the government struggles to respond.
Some 27 million informal workers who lost their jobs in the tourism, entertainment, food and service sectors have applied for a monthly cash handout from the government, though only half have received approval.
The Government has also issued conflicting information on how long the state can afford to give people 5,000 baht a month.
A spirit of volunteerism has filled the gaps left by the state.
"The government hasn't helped me with anything," said Noy, a 36-year-old masseus who caters to tourists -- a revenue stream that dried up with Covid-19's stranglehold on global travel.
She stood in line alongside hundreds on Wednesday in Bangkok's historic quarter, waiting to receive food donations of rice, noodles, milk and curry packets.
The tanking economy has also led to people flocking to sell their gold jewellery, as the price for the precious metal spikes across the world.
Angry scenes have erupted at the finance ministry in recent days, as protesters demanded answers on being shut out of the government's cash handout scheme.
Thailand's export- and tourism-reliant economy is forecast to see a contraction of 6.7% this year, its lowest GDP figures since 1998.
Below: food donations Nightwish Group Pattaya.
Wat Don Mueang in Bangkok was temporarily ordered by local authorities to stop giving away free food and water daily after lines had grown to over a thousand and pictures went viral on social media, causing some people to raise concerns over social distancing.
Pictures of people gathered along Song Prapha Road in the Don Mueang district for up to a kilometer went viral on social media, showing what appeared to be well over a thousand people in line for food and water being given by the temple.
The order comes as the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand asked temples nationwide to help those in need during the pandemic which has led to hundreds-even thousands-in some cases lining up at temples across the nation for food.
Below: People gathered outside Wat Don Mueang a queue almost kilomer long.
This comes as millions of Thai’s are out of work due to closures and restrictions due to Covid-19, with hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” businesses across the Nation closed as part of the plan to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Paitoon Ngammuk, the assistant to the district chief in Don Mueang, told the media the closure was just temporary while officials worked with the temple on proper social distancing procedures.
In Pattaya and Koh Samui lines are reaching similar levels leading to growing cries to re-open the economy and local businesses, even on a gradual basis and with proper social distancing measures in place.
FEED KOH SAMUI
The Pandemic and the ensuing Emergency Decree in Thailand have caused immeasurable economic impact across the country. Probably no sectors are being harder hit than hospitality, entertainment and nightlife.
Koh Samui a small Island in the Gulf of Thailand is no exception, in fact 90 percent of Koh Samui's economy depends on tourism.
Samui has been shut down now for almost three months. With many locals and inter-provincial workers relying heavily on the tourist trade to make a living, the lockdown has left them struggling to feed themselves and their families.
Many inter-provincial workers are still stranded, now unable to get home to their families. Travel restrictions, including literally closing the island from April 7-April 30 and suspending the public bus service were put in place during the pandemic.
Due to the devastating impact of the lockdown under the Emergency Decree which was put into place to curb the spread of coronavirus, many businesses have now permanently closed, and with no indication to when tourism will return, businesses that haven't, will most likely close too.
Prospects for any employment in Koh Samui is not looking good at the moment.
July 1 has been proposed for the end of the lockdown and final phase of easing restrictions, but however, with no indication as to when tourism will return and along with it employment.
Therefore our humanitarian goal during this unprecedented period is to help as many people without a job as possible, by delivering food parcels until they can start once again to support themselves.
A food parcel which includes rice, eggs canned fish and noodles costs 200THB aprox. five British Pounds.
We would like to also offer those in desperate need to return home to their province, the opportunity of a bus ticket once the state sponsored Inter-provincial bus company resumes its service to Koh Samui.
A bus ticket to the most furthest provincial destination costs approximately twenty five pounds.
Whilst the inter-provincial public bus company service resumed June 1 for travel from Bangkok to the North and North East. The state company announced on June 2 it was maintaining its ban on services to the southern provinces and journeys of more than 300 kilometres.
The company was expected to resume services from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Phuket and Trang from 1 June 2020.
Every penny that is donated will go back to help these people in desperate need.
We understand that many of you back in your home country are at a loss struggling with this pandemic, but if you can, we ask you to dig deep for this worthy cause.
The Transport Co., Ltd. has announced the resumption of interprovincial bus services on the Southern routes from 9 June, following the government’s relaxations for public transport to travel across provinces during the night-time curfew hours (23.00 – 03.00 Hrs.)
The resumption of bus services to the South will be on the following routes (from Mo Chit 2 bus terminal): Bangkok-Ko Samui; Bangkok-Phuket; Bangkok-Dan Nok; Bangkok-Satun; Bangkok-Krabi; Bangkok-Chumphon; Bangkok-Lang Suan, and Bangkok-Three Pagodas Pass.
We will now be assisting as many people as possible who desperately need to get home with a bus ticket. Even the smallest donation will help.