Kind volunteers hand out free meals in Thai slum ravaged by Covid-19


Kind volunteers are handing out hundreds of free meals to residents in a Thai slum ravaged by Covid-19.

The charity Bangkok Community Help collects food such as eggs, rice and noodles before delivering it by hand to homes in the Khlong Toey area of Bangkok, Thailand.

Health officials say the notorious slum has been a breeding ground in the recent outbreak of coronavirus cases, which has seen daily cases in the country surge above 2,000 in recent weeks.

Ministers have started a mass vaccination and testing spree in the poverty-stricken slum – where families cram into tiny wooden shacks – to try and control the outbreak.

However, the lockdown has meant that many of the residents who rely on hand-to-mouth jobs for their next meal are going hungry. Wider restrictions on businesses and tourism have seen their incomes wiped out.

Volunteers in masks and hazmat suits now risk their own health by walking through the Covid-19 danger zone to take food to struggling locals.

Speaking in the video, volunteer Friso Poldevaart, originally from the Netherlands, said: ‘We started these organisations when the first Covid-19 wave hit about a year ago. We saw that a lot of people were having immediate trouble, losing their job, losing their income, immediately losing the ability to take care of their families.

‘That’s why we started to hand out food almost every day, medicine, milk for the kids, dried food, hot food, all things that can help these people through this difficult time.

‘Right now we’re just trying to help as many people as we can because of this [latest] super severe Covid wave, but our longer-term goals are to teach the kids, build houses for people, help individual families, so hopefully when Covid subsides we will go back to more longer-term things.’

The organisation also works with Korranit Ngamsukonratana, a representative who is responsible for the area to provide sirens, speaker, communication equipment, oxygen tanks, blood pressure machines, splints, transport bed, sleeping accommodation, hazmat suits, and other necessary items for the emergency to the locals.

Medicine, masks and care packages are also being delivered to people forced to quarantine in their homes after their relatives tested positive for coronavirus. 

Testing and vaccinations have expanded in the Khlong Toey slums after hundreds of people there were infected. The first case was identified as an employee from an entertainment venue in Thong Lor area which had a cluster that led to a rising number of patients.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration claims it will soon have vaccinated all 80,000 people in the Khlong Toey area.

Thailand recorded 1,630 new Covid-19 cases today and 22 deaths, taking the total number of infections recording since the pandemic began to 85,005 with 421 dead.