More than 10,000 people have registered through the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) campaign as unemployed and affected by the economic crisis, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew said yesterday (May 21).
“Right now, we have 4,551 sensitive people under our assistance,” he noted, speaking after a meeting with the Phuket Red Cross, Kusoldharm Foundation and other officials from relevant government agencies.
The Red Cross has handed out what the government calls “survival bags” to local residents three times: 1,933 bags the first time, 1,416 the second time and 1,200 bags the third.
“Officers from the three district administrative offices are giving survival bags today and tomorrow,” Governor Narong said.
“The Kusoldharm Foundation will provide 2,000 bags to people in Muang district, 1,000 in Kathu and 1,000 in Thalang on May 29 and 30,” he added.
“Local administrative offices in each tambon are cooperating with the PPAO to register their people in need. Local administrative offices will support about 50% of the cost for the bags while the other 50% will be from PPAO. The bags will be provided from June 10 afterward.
“For providing help in July, we have proposed a project to the government to create urgent employment. The project needs B750 million to create employment and pay people the B336 daily minimum wage for six months,” Governor Narong said.
“If the project is approved, it will help our people a lot. I’m sure that if 15,000 people [in Phuket] are employed [through the project], we will not need to give them survival bags because they will be able to buy the goods with their own money,” he added.
“In addition to the organisations I have mentioned, many other organisations are providing help to our people,” Governor Narong recognised.
“One thing that we have discussed but have not included in this meeting is to set up a public kitchen, which will be needed if the situation becomes critical.
“All of us in Phuket will take care of each other, including officials, the private sector and the public,” Governor Narong said.
“Anyone who does not have essential goods, please contact the Phuket office of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the Red Cross or your local administrative office [OrBorTor or municipality]. We have an understanding to help our people together,” he said.
The move to ramp up assistance in providing basic food and household essentials to people in need across the island is one of four key elements in the provincial government’s strategy to cope with the impact of the latest outbreak of COVID-19, Governor Narong explained.
“We have four issues that we are working on: controlling the infections in the province, protecting the island from infected people from outside, creating herd immunity through vaccination and taking care of those affected by the economic crisis. Each issue is still ongoing,” he said.
“For the first issue, for the whole week we have had about zero to five new infected cases per day. We need to keep working strictly on our measures. We are trying to keep the number of new cases near zero as much as possible to the end of this month.
“For the second issue, right now all arrivals by plane must be tested or vaccinated before landing. For land arrivals, those must be fully vaccinated [or have tested negative for the virus]. Right now, being vaccinated has become a passport for travelling,” Governor Narong noted.
“For the third issue, so far, we have provided two injections of vaccine to 100,000 people. In the past three days, we have provided injections to 14,000 people per day, so in total 147,000 people in Phuket have received a vaccination injection.
“We will keep providing injections to about 15,000 people per day until the end of this month. Next month, we will provide injections to another group of people. In June, we will be able to create herd immunity among about 60-70% people on the island in line with our goal,” he said.