Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There's no place like home: evacuees

There's no place like home: evacuees

More than 1,000 flood victims have taken shelter at Thammasat University's Rangsit Campus. But for them, there's no place like home.

"Life is much more comfortable here. But I wish I could return to my home soon," Kedwadee Jamlongpeng from Ayutthaya said yesterday.

Her two-storey house, shared by 14 family members, is behind Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hospital. When the flood waters broke in, they scattered to the homes of their relatives in Nakhon Pathom, Chon Buri and Buri Ram.

"We don't want to cause more of a burden on our relatives. So we went to Ayutthaya City Hall instead," Kedwadee said about the decision made by her and her husband.

"Then someone said we had better move here because it's more comfortable. That's how we ended up here."

The 27-year-old refugee said her family received all the necessities they needed at the campus.

"We get food and clothes. All the volunteers are nice. They always ask us if we need anything," she said. "Still, no place can make us feel at ease like our home can."

She is now praying that the flood will soon subside and her family can go back home soon.

"All our belongings might be gone. We moved them up to the second floor but it reached the upper floor too," she said.

This flood is more severe that the big flood in 1995. Back then, it did not enter the second floor, she said.

"But by the time we decided to leave home this time, the flood waters were already knee-deep," she said.

Nirut Wiboonchaikul, 35, said his one-floor house and his car were now submerged.

"I've lost everything, all the things in the house and all the important documents in the car.

They're all gone," he said. He hopes the government will offer more assistance than just the Bt5,000 handout. "That's too little," he said.

Nirut, his wife and their two children escaped the flooding unharmed.

Prof Somkit Lertpaithoon, rector of Thammasat University, said the Gymnasium II building and the main stadium at the Rangsit campus could accommodate up to 1,700 evacuees.

"If necessary, we can open Gymnasium I. So far, there are just 1,031 evacuees with us now," he said.

About 1,300 volunteers including students were at the campus helping out the flood refugees.

"We're confident we can take good care of them," he said.
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