This past fall, Thailand experienced an unusually active monsoon season that drenched the central and northern parts of Thailand -- unleashing raging waters across more than 20 provinces and killing an estimated 350 men, women, and children. Our Salesian missionaries acted quickly in response, providing immediate aid for victims of widespread and deadly flooding.
More recently, the rains -- deemed “the worst in 30 years” by Thailand’s prime minister -- pummeled the southern part of the country as well. Homes were flooded to their roofs, devastating mudslides were triggered, and flooding wreaked major havoc on roads, bridges, and railway lines. According to the United Nations, more than 2.5 million people were affected by the relentless storms.
“They have lost so much,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Their homes, their possessions, and even their livelihoods. And, with much of the agricultural land completely destroyed, food security is a pressing issue.”
In response, our Salesian priests, brothers and sisters mobilized to collect and distribute hundreds of emergency kits and food items to families affected by the disaster.
“In the midst of the suffering and uncertainty, we have encouraged our teachers, pupils, parents, and lay collaborators to give money, essential supplies and food, as well as their time, to help the victims materially, morally, and spiritually,” says Sister Teresa Namsomboon, director of the Marie Uppatham School in Sampran.
Also in response to the emergency, students from Salesian-run schools across the country organized fundraising concerts and events, canvassed their families for material donations, and assembled and delivered emergency supplies. Students have also been paying regular visits to elderly displaced victims staying in local disaster shelters.
“They lighten the interminable hours by teaching crafts, listening to the victims’ stories, and offering encouraging words,” says Sr. Teresa. “They bring hope.”
While the road to recovery and reconstruction will be long, our Salesian missionaries are committed to walking in solidarity with victims of the floods -- offering whatever short- and long-term assistance they can.
Our mission supports the work of brave Salesians during times of natural disasters. What’s your mission?