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The Covid19 pandemic is fueling homeless people in Bangkok


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The Covid19 pandemic is fueling homeless people in Bangkok

More and more people are ending up on the streets in Bangkok after the company they worked for kicked them out due to the pandemic.

‘A’, a 35-year-old resident of Sakon Nakhon, used to work as a host at a Bangkok eatery. The company went bankrupt after lockdowns and pandemic restrictions kept guests away.

For a long time, he waited for the call from his employer to go back to work. But he never received the call. Worse, his outdated phone model gave up the ghost, so he decided to sell it for 100 baht to a second-hand phone shop in the Klong Lod area.

“I have the only valuable possession I sold,” said ‘A’. His search for a job in the city was in vain. During the worst economic downturn in decades, more and more companies were laying off workers than they assumed.

‘A’ lives from day today. He is often seen queuing for food distribution on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and sleeping wherever he can find a resting place.

“All I wish for the new year is to get a job and for the Covid19 virus to disappear.”

Meanwhile, “B,” another homeless man, said he recently quit his job as a security guard after his employer only partially paid his wages and delayed payment.

“I have not been treated fairly,” the 39-year-old Yasothon resident said.

He was a coolie in a trucking company and also a cook. He learned the tricks of Southern cooking when he accompanied his uncle who worked in a restaurant at a young age. His New Year’s wish was to find a job and save enough money to return to his native province.

Somporn Hanprom, the coordinator at the Human Settlement Foundation, said the pandemic crisis has left many homeless.

“They are not being rehired or unable to find a new job. These people were suddenly unemployed and unprepared to face life with the little savings they had to get ahead of them,” he said.

Some with a little more saved rented a room from other dismissed colleagues. “At least they have a roof over their heads and a decent toilet,” he said.

But it may only be a matter of time before they hit the streets as the pandemic continues with employment prospects for many remaining weak.

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