By Adrienne Blomberg - Siam-Care Foundation Director
Siam-Care staff preparing emergency bags
Siam-Care Thailand October 2011 update on Prison Project Prisons Flooded!
Many thanks to all of you who have support our prison project over the past months. With the persisting floods in central Thailand, we are all the more thankful and in need of assistance to help the many prisoners and their families in the flooded areas. As the floods started to rise, the prisons were affected as well. In the case of Ayutthaya prison the water came so quick that the move came too late and many had to wade through chest-deep water to get to the buses that brought them to other, mostly already overcrowded prisons. Phatum Thanee correctional Institute for female offenders is one of the places Siam-Care works, but we won't be going there for a while; now all that remains are the empty buildings as all 1200 female offenders were moved to the northeast. A good 6 hour bus ride away from Bangkok. It is not difficult to understand that the receiving prisoners were not too happy; such a huge infulx in already overcrowded places is very difficult for all. We are happy to say that we remain in contact with the nurse who moved along with them all and is making sure all HIV positive women receive their medication. For many of the family members this is a real time of heart-ache; often they don't know where their loved ones are moved to an no one knows when they will be moved back and when visits will resume. From one of the main Bangkok male prisons, Bangkwang, many were moved over the past week. On Saturday busses left in the afternoon and a harrowing 19 hour bus drive followed; chained up two by two with only a little drinking water each and an occasional toilet stop, they arrived in the south the following morning. Then had to cue up for over an hour in the burning sun to receive a meager meal and find themselves in very overcrowded, and unhygienic circumstances. Many had not been able to inform their families they were moving and still many relatives remain in doubt as to the whereabouts of their loved-ones. Local embassies and the prison authorities can be called for this information. As the flooding is far from over, Siam-Care is working hard to let families know the whereabouts of their relatives and establish contact between them if possible. Also emergency supplies for affected families as well as much counseling by telephone and talking to children who are worried about their parent, take up a lot of our work at the moment. The staff are working hard and putting in extra hours and we are thankful for your support to us in all this.
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