President Larry Amsden and Service Projects co-Chairperson Brad Kenny headed north to investigate.
While traveling, we became aware of another group of Rohingya refugees reported to be at the Nural Kormars Mosque in the Hin Lad-Kuraburi area.
Since the Rotary Club of Patong Beach has a lot of experience and friends in that due to our Tsunami project, we decided to check that Rohingya situation out.
Sure enough, there were 112 Rohingya refugees at the Mosque and a lot of locals helping them out.
We learnt that the local Thai health officials had checked out all of the Rohingya and found only one boy that needed medical assistance and took him to the medical center.
Others were given vaccinations or minor medical assistance as needed. Food and water was available, from the local Muslim community and also from the Thai Government.
The Rohingya were kept at the Mosque which was nothing like a detention center and we assumed they were told to stay in the Mosque.
We decided to get contact information and obtained the Puyai Baan's name and phone number, Khun Lee Tel. 081 0809770, and to leave our info if any assistance might be needed in the future.
One of the Rohingya in Kuraburi could speak very good English, his name is Kewrimullas and he clearly stated they all wanted to go on to Malaysia and were being treated well in Thailand, and none of them wanted to go back to Burma under any circumstance.
He stated they had arrived by boat on January 22.
We decided for the time being these Rohingya refugees did not need urgent help and we shall keep in contact with the Puyai Baan Khun Lee.
We then went on to Khao Lak and found in Khukkhak the Phang Nga Home for Family and Children where there were 49 Rohingya Women and Children.
The government officials were a little less informative but did say they had plenty of donated rice, cooking oils, and longer term storable foods but needed fresh fruits and vegetables.
So we used funds from the Rotary Club of Patong Beach and bought perishable fruits and vegetables, some yogurt, and also dried fish (all requested by the government officials) and delivered it.
They were very adamant that they would not accept any cash donations only food or other products. They also did not want any photographs taken inside the compound and then after we delivered the donations they allowed a few photos of the delivery.
We feel there will be a need for additional food since the fresh food we delivered will only be enough for a couple of days, so we left another 4000 baht with a friend of our Rotary Club to spend on more fruits and vegetables in a few days' time.
We could not get any information on how long these Rohingya will stay there but they did look quite comfortable.
The government staff did have a language barrier since none of these Rohingya could speak Thai or even English.