Appeal of the Representative of Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand Archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin) on the Flood Situation in Thailand
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Christ, compatriots, all people of good will living in Thailand and all others in other countries whose hearts accommodate the whole world, I address to you!
Currently Thailand is amidst the worst flood for the last 50 years. Sixty out of 77 provinces have already suffered from flooding. The overall number of flood victims is estimated as many as 8.2 million people. The economic damage has exceeded 2 billion US dollars. The situation continues aggrevating. This is now the national disaster.
Besides the direct damage both to the state and people, i.e. house destructions, the destroying of rice seeds etc, the tourist season is under disruption now as the foreign affairs agencies of almost all countries declared that it was dangerous for their citizens to trip to Thailand. Owing to the destroying of rice seeds, the rice prices are expected to increase by 10-19% both in Thailand and external markets. Already now the net-shops are suffering shortages. There is almost no drinking water.
The situation is close to panic as the authorities declared that it was impossible to hold the water level in the Chaopraya river, thus, letting the northern areas of Bangkok be inundated in order to avert destruction of the dams on the basic directions. Ten percent of Bangkok’s territory is expected to be flooded. Yet, there are concerns that up to 50 percent of Bangkok may be inundated. The anticipated level of inundation is up to 1.20 m.(3’9 feet). The population of the areas that are to be inundated are recommended to leave their places. Above all, November will see the beginning of so called «cool» season in Thailand when temperatures usually start decreasing. That will be enough to entail hypothermia of locals. The epidemiological situation is still unclear in the areas of disaster.
The disaster has united the nation, but the damage inflicted by nature is tremendous.
We are especially concerned that the misfortune befalling Thailand can be exploited for political interests. We can already hear blames on the Government from the opposition for the mismanagement of the situation. All the more so as it is dangerous as the political stability has been just reached at the cost of violent confrontation between the antagonistic political fractions. The time of common calamity can not be a pretext for the political struggle.
In this situation we can not and have no other right but to demonstrate our sympathy as to help the victims of the disaster.
I urge you to make the very generous donations for the needs of the flood victims. Watching you almsgiving, may God Almighty grant us, sinners, mercy as well.
For believers it is enough to know the commandment of our Savior on love to a neighbor in order to have no doubt in the necessity to show benevolence.
I also urge those who do not share our religious believes to do mercy helping the flood victims on the grounds of humanism, fairness and gratitude to the country and people amid who we live and whose hospitality we can feel.
These days many are saying to me that they want to be sure that their donations will reach those in need. They asked to organize the targeted aid for the sufferers. That is the reason why the Fund Committee of the Orthodox Christian Church in Thailand after considering the situation made the decision to start fund-raising and take care of targeted aid.
Certainly, the bulk of our assistance in the common flow is quite marginal, but we are doing our best.
I bless to start fund-raising for the needs of the flood victims in all the parishes of our Church in Thailand, to set up ecclesiastical concerts of our church choirs in all resort cities right in the streets simultaneously fund-raising for the needs of sufferers.
I also assign the heads of the parish councils to meet with the heads of communities in order to know specific families that are highly in need of the assistance. I assign to visit those families and hand over the part of received aid based upon the number of family members and the degree of their needs.
I am afraid that this programme may take quite a long time. But we must be firm in our benefaction for the sake of Jesus Christ.
If the amount of donations turns out to be significant, I bless priest Danai (Daniel) Vanna to start consultations with the National Staff on combating the implications of flooding in order to find out the needs of people more specifically. I suppose that in that case we will have to purchase, in the first place, provisions, warm clothes and blankets, drugs, and perhaps, construction materials.
As well, I assign to provide transparency of donations and their spending for the charity purposes and inform you on the financial situation on the official web-site of the Orthodox Christian Church in Thailand www.orthodox.or.th.
May we remember the words from the Holy Bible: «For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy!» (James 2,13).
Sincerely praying for all of you,
Please, visit the Official website of Orthodox Christian Church in Thailand (Moscow Patriarchate) in order to make a donation.