Thailand: where survivors have lost everything but hope

 Camillian Father Renato Attrezzi, writes about the Camillian Hospital in Bangkok and the San Camillo Hospital di Ratchaburi, in this letter that has been translated by Fides. Dear friends, I wish to tell you about my most recent visit to our people working in the affected areas. We realise immediately the vastness of the tragedy and directed our assistance to a group of 186 fisherfolk who had lost everything in the disaster in which 80 people died and some are still missing. Many fled to the hills about 3 km from the sea and here we made our camp to listen to their stories and offer the necessary assistance. At the same time we contacted the local authorities in order to work together. At the end of the emergency stage, on 20 January people started moving into wooden huts put up by the army. We have 108 children in our care. They live in tents with their families and school has started, not in the building which was destroyed but in other buildings or sometimes in teachers, homes. We are registering individuals in view of ongoing aid which will start in March and be given to groups. Then we will see how to assist people who are alone and place them with a family or some institution. Gradually we are helping to rebuild their lives and this is important. Besides assisting children we also help to rebuild homes, buy boats and fishing equipment, we run a school and a dispensary. Many of our staff are non Christians and they serve those in need with charity and generosity. After setting up a medical camp they began to examine patients and listen to their stories. Very often they get up in the night to change bandages, but they always work with a smile. Their daily work is intense. They carefully record examinations and treatment, they welcome visitors and distribute food parcels for families. In the evenings they improvise songs and dances and jokes to make the patients laugh This experience convinces me of a truth which I continue to repeat to myself: "I am evangelised by the poor." Source: Fides

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