A huge procession of Thai people turned out to deliver food, cash and necessities to help Rohingya migrants confined in various shelters yesterday.
Muhammad Sabare, 14, weeps in gratitude as he represents Rohingya youngsters who gathered to give thanks to people who donated food and other necessities to them at a shelter in Narathiwat yesterday. Locals donated to many shelters housing Rohingya across the southernmost provinces. WAEDAO HARAI
In Narathiwat's Yi-ngo district, Nasaran Salae-ma, headmaster of Akrasatwitthaya School, imam representatives as well as Muslim and Buddhist people gave food, clothes and cash to Muhammad Sakee, chief of the Narathiwat Home for Children and Families, to help 18 Rohingya youths who were brought there.
Shelter staff said health officials in Narathiwat will be contacted to conduct medical check-ups for the Rohingya.
The staff members were concerned about their mental condition as many of them were traumatised from horrendous memories of their hometowns in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
Muhammad Sabare, a 14-year-old Rohingya boy, led his group to pray for the donors' prosperity in return.
Through translators, Muhammad pleaded with Thai authorities to help the Rohingya as he and his family were separated for more than two months. He also thanked Thai people who provided them with help. Close to 1,000 Rohingya have been detained in Thailand.
At the Trang Shelter for Children and Families, Trang Hospital officers yesterday performed medical check-ups for 12 Rohingya children and one adult there.
Most of them were found to be malnourished and some had sustained injuries during their long journey.
In Yala, Thai Buddhists and Muslims delivered food, money, clothes and other necessities to the office of Young Muslim Association of Thailand (YMAT) in the province's municipality.
The association is scheduled to provide all the donated goods to Rohingya migrants in Songkhla's Sadao district today.
Abdul Aziz Tadaein, head of the human rights section of the YMAT, said the association had previously helped the Rohingya.
The group also delivered money for Rohingya people in Myanmar, he said, adding that the association's representatives will travel to Myanmar next month to give more help.
Mr Abdul urged Thai authorities not to send the Rohingya migrants back to Myanmar.
He said it would be better to set up a temporary shelter for them during the time they are seeking asylum in the third countries.
At the Pattani Shelter for Children and Families, streams of people have donated food for 22 Rohingya migrants at the facility.
Thakorn Hemvichien, chief of the shelter, told donors it was better to give cash instead of food as the centre already provides food which properly suits Rohingya people's needs.
Meanwhile, Bang Klam police station in Songkhla has supported the 21 confined Rohingya migrants with activities along with villagers.
The move was agreed by a joint panel of Bang Klam police and villagers, Pol Col Suriya Panyamang, the station chief, said. They all agreed that Rohingya migrants were not wrongdoers, but victims, so they should be allowed to live outside of the cells under supervision, Pol Col Suriya said.
Rohingya will help renovate a deserted section of police accommodation together with the villagers so they can live there, Pol Col Suriya said, adding the Rohingya love the activities.
Another 40 Rohingya will be transferred from other police stations to Bang Klam as there is still plenty of accommodation for them here, he said.
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Writer: Waedao Harai and Wassayos Ngamkham