V/Gov appeals for massive donations

PHUKET CITY: Vice-Governor Winai Buapradit has requested hundreds of millions of baht, along with practical support, from foreign donors, the Thai private sector and the Thai government to help Phuket recover fully from the December 26 tsunami.

During a meeting at Provinical Hall on March 24, V/Gov Winai outlined several situations in which the local authorities need help in putting right damage caused during the December 26 disaster.

The vice-governor said the province would like to give 150,000-300,000 baht to each of the 2,571 small traders, such as food vendors and hawkers, who have not received any public sector compensation so far. This would amount to at least 386 million baht.

He also appealed for help from people who can give the traders advice on re-establishing and improving their businesses.

The Provincial Health Office proposes to build a 30-bed hospital and trauma centre, to be used to treat victims of future disasters, said V/Gov Winai, although he said the details of this centre – including the cost and sources of funding – had not yet been worked out. The same was true of plans to build a rescue centre and helipad at Wachira Phuket Hospital.

In the immediate future, though, said V/Gov Winai, the province would welcome aid from psychiatrists and volunteers who can help children overcome psychological trauma caused by the tsunami.

The Phuket Public Relations Department wants help in establishing and installing a communications system that could issue alerts during future crises. The province also needs a car equipped with satellite communication facilities, according to V/Gov Winai. These are on top of the much-vaunted disaster early warning system.

The vice-governor also requested help for the 166 children orphaned by the tsunami, such as grants to cover the cost of their education, and support with general living expenses.

Phuket also needs foreign help – practical and financial – in surveying and restoring coral and other marine damage, he added.

The Vice-Governor’s call contradicts an assertion just after the tsunami by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra that Thailand did not need financial aid. It also comes in the wake of increasing complaints that very little of the aid allocated by Bangkok is actually reaching victims.

Phuket News

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