Bangkok underwater

On my arrival in Bangkok, I was expecting to see a city healing up after the major damage: this is nothing like that.

I found a city in a total chaos, with some apocalyptic vision typical of a Spielberg movie.
2 weeks after the floods, major part of Bangkok and surrounding areas are still under water, with people relocated in evacuation camps, or just staying at their place (upper floors only), as they want to protect whatever valuable good remains.

Apocalyptic vision

all stores are open to water. Imagine ATMs floating in the water, cars upside down and people on the roofs/boats, trying to survive.

The Domestic airport (Don Mueang) is still fully immersed . The water went down about 20cm since the end of the rain.

Traffic highway: Many people parked on the elevated highways so as to protect their cars from being damaged. Consequently, the traffic is reduced and several accidents are occurring on the highway.

The Support

Background

Nudent is our distributor in Thailand and this not their first humanitarian action.

Dr Thaweesak (Dr. T), has been active over the past years with – amongst others-  the “King Mom’s Charity”, helping
tribe community with primary support and dental care (Ultradent  usually contributes in products too).
During the 2004 tsunami, Dr T. and his team were first on the spot to help identifying victims and helping out several thousands of European families.

Our Regional Manager, Jay (left) had to relocate outside the city, his 2 houses are under 1.5m of water (we went close to the place but could not access).
5 of Nudent staff are also affected.
this right picture shows the main access to Nudent office (sand bags have been placed in case the water comes).
left to right: Dr Walapha niece, Dr T, Nick, Dr Walapha, Jay, and a new member of Nudent.

The Help

Nudent action comes from several aspects.
Nudent is a self sustaining organization, almost running like a small NGO; They help DIRECTLY victims. This is especially important with a highly corrupted and unreliable Thai government.
Nudent is fully equipped with:
•Equipment: truck, water pump, four wheel drive
•Infrastructure: even if not finished, our
distributor Dr Thaweesak (Dr. T) is building a huge facility in the center of Bangkok which today serves as a center for packing up food for donations.
•Supplies: they are making emergency bags for the victims. They have delivered so far 3750 bags.
•People: and this element should come first. Big hearted people, all willing to roll up their sleeves, get wet and spend their week-end to serve those in needs…

Royal Thai Army

We joined hand with Nudent to help.
Several donations were made, here on this picture is a donation of 5000$ to the Thai Royal Army.


The whole Nudent team is present. Dr T is central (wearing glasses).
On his right, General Podok Bunnag.
The general was true to the core; inspiring in his speech (translated to me by Jay) and with one single objective in mind: helping out his fellow citizens.

The army troops are brave, out in the trenches, looking out to help without any political/financial interest. After this donation was done, they offered us a road trip to the flooded area.
I was honored to hop on one of those high army trucks.
We drove about 2 hours (95% of the time with water above the wheels) until we reached what seemed to me the most isolated place in the world: one of the evacuation center.

Evacuation center

Leaving the truck to reach the evacuation center on a light “homemade boat”.
It was common to see people being transported on these boats.

Human Chain

This was probably the most emotional and rewarding part of the trip: the joy of hand-delivering the food directly to the victims.
This center holds about 200 people, and the 97 bags shall last them for about a week time (they also re-distribute supplies to others centers farther away).

A lesson for life

Here are the happy little fellows, smiling at the monumental amount of food in front of them. I wish I had brought a few toys for them to play :( .

We way too often forget our real NEEDS, and we should APPRECIATE more the gorgeous simple things of life.
I was deeply moved by this person on the far right (in red). He was the teacher in this small village and turned himself into the leader of Rescue: he was coordinating (via phone) our trip to the center, guiding us through the village (swimming next to the truck) and organizing all logistic aspects of the transfer: He may be busy in this role for the next several weeks until water leaves and they can restore. He may also become the mayor of the city!

To Conclude:

1. Our partner in Thailand, together with the coordination of Jay, is a duplication of what Ultradent would do if it had happened in the US. I cannot be thankful enough for all they engage in.

What a lesson of humility and devotion!

2. Even though Bangkok Floods are not on CNN any more, the situation is still dramatic and many human being are still affected, needing food, survival kits, dry clothes. Re-building will come next.

Ultradent/Dr Fischer has been very generous to donate 20′000$ immediate relief support.

Besides, Ultradent is raising funds and will match on 1:1 basis: We need your help!

Categories: From the Field, HumanitarianTags: bangkok, donation, floods, Humanitarian, nudent, thai royal army, ultrandet
Older Comments
Marie-Laure Besson
Un petit clin d'oeil un peu décalé ... Je viens de découvrir le chanteur Ben Mazué qui a un petit air de ressemblance avec Nicolas Sondaz...Je me souviens vaguement des cours d'espagnol avec Nicolas il y a 25 ans à St Jo... Tiens tiens qu'es-tu devenu? Un petit tour sur internet me mène sur ce blog où je découvre ton activité: bravo pour ta belle réussite ! Je te souhaite une belle continuation! Marie-Laure dans un remake de "copains d'avant" ;-)