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Tourists, Volunteers Assist Recovery in Thailand
Survivors Donate Blood to Help Tsunami Victims

BANGKOK—Volunteer workers at the Thai Red Cross Society, including tourists, are working tirelessly to provide relief to the southern areas of Thailand devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami. Donations of bottled water, food, clothing and other supplies are flowing in to the Relief and Community Health Bureau in Bangkok.

“I came yesterday and there just wasn’t enough people helping to sort all the boxes,” Bangkok resident Ms. Kamoltip Sritavil, 34, said. “I’m guessing we’ll be here until 10 or 11pm tonight. If it is this busy here, I can’t imagine what it’s like down south.”

Manpower was in definite need to assist in receiving, sorting, packing and delivering the supplies. Policemen, soldiers, and even tourists volunteered their time.

Tourists who survived or just arrived into Bangkok devoted their time to the relief efforts. Joyce Devenny, a Canadian, was among the many who were helping out. “We’re thankful to be alive,” she said. “We were on the east coast side when it happened…we knew we wanted to do something and heard there was work to be done here, so we came.”

Devenny’s sentiment is shared among the numerous volunteers who went to the adjacent Thai Red Cross Society’s National Blood Centre, where donors waited patiently in line for up to four hours.

“There’s so many who came to give blood, both foreigners and locals,” 19-year-old volunteer Sasimaporn Jirawatsathit exclaimed.

Already more than 30,000 units of blood have been donated, according to Kanokon Jarurattanachai, nursing staff at the Thai Red Cross Society. The turnout of volunteers and donors made her “feel very proud. I tell the donors that the blood they give is like a ‘lifeline’ for those in the south. It is a very good deed they are doing,” she said.

An aid center has also been set up at Thammasart University Rangsit, where foreign nationals are able to seek medical assistance, free food and clothing, access to the internet, transportation services to embassies and the airport, and temporary lodging until they are able to return home.

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