| As local agencies scramble to respond to widespread disaster, it's inevitable that the needs of some of those affected will not be met. That's what happened to some farming families in central Thailand when the Chao Phraya River overflowed its banks during the last monsoon season, causing the worst flooding in 60 years.|
The floodwaters inundated 38 of the country's 76 provinces, according to local news sources, turning nearly 1.6 million acres of farmlands into swamp and causing an estimated $333 million in damages. Five million Thais were affected.
In Ang Thong Province, one of the hardest hit areas, official relief efforts concentrated on those who had lost their homes in the catastrophe. Small farmers whose rice fields and orchards were destroyed, but whose homes were still intact, did not qualify for assistance.
As a result, about 1,500 people in 300 households scattered around Ang Thong's Bang Chao Cha and Ongkharak districts "did not receive any help in the way of food or drinking water. At present, their farmlands are still mostly flooded, as water levels have been slowly dropping," said Sang Arum Limwongtaworn, local coordinator for Betterment of Life Foundation (BoLF), a not for profit charitable foundation based in Bangkok.
A $15,000 donation from The Prem Rawat Foundation allowed BoLF to feed these needy families for two weeks as they waited for the waters to recede. Each family received packages of nourishing indigenous foods, including rice, fish, green peas, processed vegetables, noodles, and chili paste, as well as bottled drinking water.