Thai govt earmarks Bt100m for Nepal

Thai govt earmarks Bt100m for Nepal

The government yesterday earmarked Bt100 million for agencies to use for relief efforts in Nepal, while Bt56 million was collected in donations from the public as of yesterday via different fundraising campaigns.

The devastating earthquake in the mountain kingdom has claimed more than 4,400 lives in Nepal so far.

A team of medical staff with expertise in disaster relief will fly to Nepal today, Dr Surachet Sathitniramai, deputy permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry, said. The 19-member Medical Emergency Response Team is comprised of four doctors specialising in emergencies, a surgeon, a psychiatrist, four nurses, six medical relief staff members, two communications experts and a medical specialist as team leader. The team will be setting up workstations at four locations, including the Thai embassy, a Thai Buddhist temple, and the Nepalese public health ministry. Three senior ministry officials arrived in Nepal yesterday to make preparations for the medical response team. Three similar teams will be prepared to take turns in operations in Nepal, Dr Wachira Pengjuntr, a deputy permanent secretary in charge of the ministry's medical operation centre, said.

Over the next two months, up to 10 tonnes of medical supplies will be delivered, he said, adding that the ministry has asked for Bt20 million to fund this operation. The medical supplies alone will cost around Bt8.3 million and will be provided by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.

Surachet said antibiotics would be needed to stop wounds from becoming infectious.

Meanwhile, the C-130 military transport plane will bring back Thai nationals stranded in Nepal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said, without elaborating on arrangements.

Currently, 45 Thai nationals are being sheltered at the embassy, he added.

Separately, the Bt100 million budget yesterday was approved by the Cabinet, in addition to the US$200,000 (Bt6 million) the government donated earlier, $500,000 donated by the Thai Red Cross Society, plus Bt100,000 given by the PM, General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

All government agencies working on relief operations have been instructed to monitor the situation in Nepal and come up with contingency efforts upon receiving requests, deputy government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said.

A 67-strong team of military experts in disaster relief flew yesterday to Nepal, said deputy supreme commander Admiral Thaweewuth Phongphiphat. The team has military surgeons, military engineers, satellite communication experts and search-and-rescue staff. Their operations change after the first seven days based on orders of the Defence Ministry, the admiral said.

The team took along equipment to produce clean drinking water, survival kits, generators, relief kits, instant food and medical supplies, Sansern added.

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