In 2020, vulnerable Thai households experienced a spike in humanitarian need due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the early part of the year and periodic heavy rainfall throughout the country between August and December that led to persistent flooding and flash flooding.
Isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic and severe weather, people in many communities across Thailand were hard to reach with critical relief assistance. With support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Thai Red Cross Society (TRCS) distributed more than 162,000 COVID-19 relief kits—including food and essential water, sanitation, and hygiene items— to people in 68 provinces in Thailand from March to December. In addition, between August and December, TRCS distributed nearly 83,000 relief kits containing basic medicine, safe drinking water, and food—such as instant noodles, canned fish, and rice—to floodaffected households in 27 provinces throughout the country.
IFRC and TRCS facilitated their humanitarian relief efforts through use of Phonphai, a USAID/BHA-funded disaster response coordination mobile application. In collaboration with 19 government disaster response agencies in Thailand, including the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the Ministry of Public Health, and the Department of Public Works, TRCS orders and processes relief kits, and coordinates with its frontline responders and community members to deliver them to vulnerable households.
During the ongoing COVID-19 response, healthcare volunteers in rural communities use Phonphai to support vulnerable people in quarantine at home and conduct primary health screenings. With this information, the volunteers are able to order relief kits through Phonphai that are then delivered directly to households in need.
Since late October, TRCS has also been using Phonphai to deliver cold weather relief items, such as blankets, coats, and sweaters, as part of the organization’s winterization efforts. As of January 20, TRCS had coordinated more than 25,000 deliveries of cold weather items in 16 provinces using the Phonphai application.