Thai students stranded overseas 'getting help'
The Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) said it is working with the Foreign Ministry to help Thai students living overseas during the Covid-19 pandemic, but said no chartered flights have been arranged to bring them home.
Rear Adm Somkiat Pholprayoon, secretary-general of SBPAC, said the centre has been in constant contact with Thai embassies and student associations in 27 countries to ensure students get the help they need.
According to Rear Adm Somkiat, there are 11,069 Thai students in 27 countries who cannot return home due to travel restrictions imposed by several countries. He added that no chartered flights have been arranged to bring them home, but the SBPAC is liaising with the authorities to arrange flights as soon as the situation improves.
Thailand's ambassador to Indonesia Songphol Sukchan is monitoring the situation and has sent financial aid to Thai students, especially those in Muslims countries, to buy food supplies and face masks, Rear Adm Somkiat said.
The SBPAC's assurances come after parents voiced their concerns.
On March 17, the SBPAC -- an inter-governmental agency that coordinates civilian affairs, public administration and humanitarian work in the restive South -- set up a centre to support government efforts in tackling the outbreak.
The centre has been working with provincial governors and community leaders in setting up mobile kitchens -- at least one in every tambon -- to supply food to those affected by the outbreak.
With schools closed and classes being held online, the centre also plans to boost internet services.