World

They donate blood, act as translators

Amid all the blood, death and shock that rocked the nation, ordinary Thais have found many ways to help the injured and their families.

It was a spontaneous show of warmth and genuine concern, and their selflessness was very much in evidence.

Mr Khonnon Jathrakul was nowhere near the city centre when the deadly blast occurred on Monday evening.

But when calls went out from hospitals that blood supply was running low, he did not hesitate at all, news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

He said: "It's my duty to help, as a Thai, as a person. I have O blood type and it is useful."

He was not alone.

Dozens of his countrymen found ways to reach both Chulalongkorn and Police General hospitals, where the victims were taken to, despite roadblocks.

DONATION CENTRES

While some chose to make their way to the makeshift donation centres at the hospitals, others took mopeds, motorcycles and other smaller vehicles.

Mr Danat Preechit and several of his friends from a motorbike club headed for the hospital after receiving word that it was running low on blood. After negotiations with a beleaguered police guard outside, they were let in to donate blood.

Mr Danat said: "It is time we showed the world the good side of Thailand. We're here to answer the call."

Those who could not donate blood found other ways to contribute.

Mr Boonsue Kritiyapakdee, a motorcycle taxi driver, offered free rides to anyone who needed to get to and from the hospital.

After the Police General Hospital announced that it needed Chinese-Thai speakers to translate for Chinese-speaking victims, many volunteers, including tourists, rushed to the hospital to offer help, the Bangkok Post reported.

Ms Sunantha Deepoh, 58, and her Chinese-speaking friends headed for the hospital when they heard the call.

She said: "Families of foreign tourists visiting the city are worried about their loved ones because in many cases, they have yet to hear about the victims' conditions or whether they are out of danger."

Said 19-year-old undergraduate Benyapawee Ngamtanakitja, who travelled more than 20km to get to the Police General Hospital: "I spent a semester in China, so I came to help translate. When I was in China, they took really great care of me, so I feel it is my duty to help all Chinese victims here."

Ms Lu Mei Gui, a Chinese woman who has lived in Bangkok for eight years and speaks fluent Thai, told Coconuts Bangkok that she decided to walk back to the Erawan Shrine and volunteer to translate for her countrymen.

No one was able to communicate with them at the time.

Hospital staff said that within a few hours of their call for translators, they received so many volunteers that some of them had to be turned away.

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