On August 29, Tropical Storm Podul crossed into northeast and northern Thailand bringing heavy rainfall and high winds causing flash flooding and landslides across 32 provinces.
Due to the torrential rain, waters rose significantly higher than above normal levels in Ubon Ratchathani, the tenth most populous city in Thailand. The flood resulted in widespread flooding in 22 districts. Many people are still living in their flooded homes without electricity and food supplies. Flood victims in ten provinces, including a province also called Ubon Rathchthani, were being evacuated to higher grounds.
Flood waters have damaged and washed out numerous bridges and roads, and desecrated over 3,800 houses, 439 schools, and 57 health facilities. Farmers in affected areas are concerned they will not have a harvest this year as the flood waters are expected to last at least 10 days.
Jarunee Chearahai, an Adventist church member and resident of the Muang District in Ubon Ratchathani, survived but her after-school learning center, which serves several children in the community, had been destroyed as a result of the torrential rain.
“I have things packed up, but I don’t know where to go, maybe to the church,” Chearahai says with a smile. Her house is surrounded and stacked with sandbags to block water from reaching inside her home. Chearahai is participating in the Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s (ADRA) response because she saw the need to help.
“I will be at the church to help pack food,” she says. “We help others not because they ask for help but because it is our responsibility as Adventists to be of service, and this is a time to show our love and compassion through serving the needs of others.”
ADRA, in collaboration with the Ubon Adventist Mission School (UAIMS), the Ubon Seventh-day Adventist Church and Adventist Frontier Missions (AFM), is responding by providing clean water and food packages to the most affected communities around Ubon Ratchathani. Further assessments will highlight additional needs facing the ravaged villages.