1,270 Bangkok slums may be Covid-19 time bombs

THURSDAY, MAY 06, 2021

Slums, especially in Bangkok, could turn into Covid-19 time bombs that may spread unexpectedly if relevant departments do not control it in time.

The Community Organisations Development Institute (CODI) under the Social Development and Human Security Ministry has identified as many as 1,270 of these slum communities in the same environment as Bangkok’s Khlong Toei slum, where a recent Covid-19 outbreak occurred.

Of concern are also the large Klong Prem Prachakorn community, with more than 10,000 people, slum communities in the heart of Ratchathewi district and Wang Thong Lang district, with over 3,000 residents each, and the Yommarat Railway community with 5,000-10,000 people.

If officials strictly monitor these communities or confine them to their homes, the big problem would be income and food, which would be good enough reasons for them to refuse to stay home. They are already struggling to earn a daily average income of THB120-150 despite fear of Covid-19.

According to a survey, for these communities starvation is more frightening than the virus.

CODI deputy director Panthip Petchmak said that from a May 2 check of slum communities in Bangkok, more than 200 residents in 260 communities of 1,270 were found to have contracted Covid-19, while 700 needed to quarantine.

More may get infected as 90 per cent of people in these communities need to go out for daily jobs to earn a living.

CODI has now coordinated with community-level organisations to provide food, water and supplements to help contain the virus spread, while urging the government to speedily find a solution to stop the virus from spreading to other communities.