Thai Hams Provide Communication Support During Monsoon
Heavy monsoon rains in Thailand have devastated parts of that country, with almost 60 dead and 100,000 homes in 32 provinces damaged or gone. According to the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) -- that country's IARU Member-Society -- amateurs in the Nakhon Ratchasima and Chaiyaphum provinces have been helping authorities coordinate the rescue and relief efforts. Nakhon Ratchsima is Thailand’s biggest province, with a population of 2.7 million in 32 districts with 3700 villages.
Under the guidance of National Disaster Warning Center Advisor Manas Songsaeng, HS1DE, the Nakhon Ratchasima Amateur Radio Association’s (NRARA) club station HS3AN has been coordinating relief work with the help of other Amateur Radio communications centers based in Khao Yai, Phimai and Chaiyaphum that were also providing information to people traveling to and from Nakhon Ratchasima. Located at the provincial hall, the club has been working closely with government agencies, relaying details about the emergency situation to officials and relief workers.
NRARA President Charnchai Siriamornpan, HS4XU, said Amateur Radio operators had also pitched in to help soldiers, volunteers and foundation workers get food to flood victims and were ferrying women who were in advanced stages of pregnancy to the hospital.
The rains have destroyed close to 200,000 acres of rice paddies, most just weeks away from harvest time that provides many farmers with their annual source of income. NRARA Deputy President Prasit Thongjunteuk, HS3KNC -- whose 4 acres of rice fields been totally destroyed by the floodwaters -- said he had resigned himself to this loss and is continuing to take the microphone to help with Amateur Radio communications around Nakhon Ratchasima.
According to RAST, a Web site is providing three channels of live traffic from amateurs who are assisting flood relief efforts in the Southern Thailand. These channels are for Hat Yai, Trang and Surat Thani (channels 1, 2 and 3 respectively). The site also has continuously updated text messages from people discussing the flood disaster in Thailand on Twitter and using the tag #ThaiFlood. You can read these and listen to the repeater traffic -- which is in Thai -- on the Web site.