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Phuket Opinion: Feed the hungry

Phuket Opinion: Feed the hungry

PHUKET: The launch this week of the exemplary ‘One Phuket’ initiative to coordinate efforts to provide food and other essential supplies to people in need across the island needs to be known, and needs to be supported.

opinionCOVID-19economicscharity
By The Phuket News

Sunday 14 February 2021, 09:00AM


Relief supplies arrive in Patong during a privately funded food relief drive as government campaigns have dried up. Photo: PR Patong

Relief supplies arrive in Patong during a privately funded food relief drive as government campaigns have dried up. Photo: PR Patong

The past year has seen so many people in Phuket doing their utmost to help those whose lives have been nigh torn apart by financial devastation brought on by the ongoing COVID economic crisis that it is difficult to estimate just how many there have been.

As the island went into lockdown last April, relief campaigns were launched all over the island by a host of very good-hearted people doing the best they could to help those in immediate need, many left without enough money to buy even food.

Yet many of those efforts, with all the good they were doing, were fractious at best. The two key aspects that were handled very well were that, first and foremost, relief supplies were getting to most of the people in need, and second, that the efforts were very localised with relief-campaign organisers each focusing on the people and the areas they knew best.

Considering the circumstances and the speed that the relief efforts were rolled out, this is in no way a criticism. These aspects are purely the result of the need for a quick response to the immediate situation, and the people who stepped up are no less than heroes for their efforts.

Today, as we head towards a year of living under the brunt of the economic impact of the COVID-19 prevention policies, many of these initial campaigns have faded due to lack of donations, and lack of resources.

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As Andrea Edwards, an active member of One Phuket, said so clearly this week: “We have witnessed our community rising to meet the challenge and we have many heroes and heroines doing so much to help those in need. But as the months turn into a year, funds are running dry, communities are left without help, people do not have enough food to eat, jobs are not coming back, and those on the ground, doing the work to help those most impacted, are getting exhausted.”

Now experts are warning that the worst may be yet to come if there is no recovery in at least domestic tourism. Assistant Professor Dr Chayanon Phucharoen, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Phuket campus, also warns that to avoid what he called a “difficult situation” Phuket would need to have even more domestic tourists than we had in the months immediately following the first lockdown last year. And that is while people throughout the rest of the country also continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Specifically regarding foreigners, Phuket has always been blessed with a host of people – expats, retirees and tourists alike – who all came here with open hearts. That is the type of life that attracted them to Phuket, and despite all the complaining posted online, it remains the fundamental reason why they stay.

To all those who have the time or the ability to help provide donations, we call on you to step up to give only just what you can to support One Phuket. Donations are always welcome, but do not shy away if all you can give is some time to lend a hand. Just an extra pair of hands can make a big difference in getting help to where it is needed most.

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skip | 14 February 2021 - 23:50:20

this is only going to end when one country like sweden stands up and says NO to the tyrany being enforced on us by the WHO  and the CDC. let the public freely interact until herd immunity is achieved just like all previous pandemics. let nature run its course. then get on with life and enjoy freedom. the current cure is doing more damage than the virus !!

Kurt | 14 February 2021 - 12:03:57

...who have to take responsibilities for feeding their 'brothers and sisters'. A saying used by Phuket officialdom when it fits their purpose. So far I not see Phuket Officialdom vision thinking to remake the Phuket economy job wise, etc,, less foreign tourist dependent. What is that passiveness? Dreaming in laziness about the passed, the tourists always coming, even when scammed, bullied

Kurt | 14 February 2021 - 11:56:40

Heart warming Opinion. But, below the photo I read: "as government campaigns have dried up..". Why dried up? There is a lot of money in Central- (BKK) ass well in local Orbor Tor's coffers. ( think about money available for free covid vaccinations). Governors, Mayors, filthy rich Thai phuket families, that are the key people on Phuket who have to take responsibilities for feeding.

 

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