Refugees in Thailand face double whammy

By August 10, 2011

Thailand (MNN) — Karen refugees in Thailand camps say deadly
flooding and landslides have destroyed many homes, forcing several hundred to
find shelter in nearby churches and schools.

The high waters were triggered two weeks ago by Tropical Storm Nock
Ten. In its wake, the Department of Disaster
Mitigation and Protection says roughly a quarter of the country and just over a
million people have been affected.

Dyann Romeijn with
Vision Beyond Borders says they have heard
from their partner in the Thai refugee camps, but assessing damages is still in
the early stages. "It's tough to know
exactly what's happening, because unfortunately, nobody can actually get down to those camps because the roads are
not cleared."

There are reports that government soldiers have been sent to
try to clear the bodies and the roads.
As bad as the damages are in the camps, VBB's team has good news. "We have been on the phone with our contact from
our Children Homes. All the houses around our dorms are swept away; our
dorms are the only one still standing!" Romeijn adds, "We're hoping that the kids are still able to
attend school, whether it be in the dorms or wherever they're able to
meet."

Some of the warehouse structures suffered water damage,
which brings another concern. "They reported to us that over 3,000 bags of rice were destroyed in that
camp," says Romeijn. "It sounds like a lot of the food supply has been eliminated. It's
difficult to get in there, so it is going to be a difficult situation."

Aside from food and shelter, the VBB team reports a need for
medical supplies to treat "waterborne diseases, malaria, typhoid
fever and then just the coughs and congestions and stuff that you see as a
result of the standing water and being damp and cold without adequate shelter. We see an increase of all those things in a camp that already has
limited medical supplies," says Romeijn, although so far, relief agencies say there
has been no outbreak of major disease among flooding victims in the camps.

For those who survived the immediate emergency, the wait for
aid is the biggest threat to continued well-being. The roads are still completely blocked. "We'll just be working without contacts on this to see when they can
actually get in. They're right there close to the affected areas. I'm sure that
as soon they can get in, they will, and then we'll have more information."

Pray that the VBB team will find a
way to bring supplies of food to the refugees and to the dorms. Their ministry partner explains, "The only option to bring food to
all the camps is to take boats on the dangerous Salaween River; this river separates
Thailand and Burma. There are many Burmese soldiers camps based on the Burma
river banks."

The relief plays a critical role
in outreach. It creates many opportunities for hope, which Romeijn says is why VBB exists. "Our purpose is primarily to share the Gospel
and to call the Christians in America to pray for these people. That's [something] everyone can do."

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