Dear Everyone

I promised a "flood update: in a few hours to you good folks with email  My apologies to you my brothers and sisters whom I didn't then send a letter by ordinary mail.  Anyway, the email, was four days ago when I wrote you all that our

Charity 30 Oct Teenage Rock Stars Concert... was...  to use an American Baseball term: "Cancelled because of rain." (flooding really)

Today the flood picture is a bit more in focus. Here goes.

For the next four days of high sea tides... when...if... the sea water gates are opened, then the sea water flows into our almost-below-sea-level Bangkok city.  We now wait as the flood waters continue to arrive - flowing down in huge volume from the North.

As I write this, eleven Slums where we have shack/school kindergartens are under a meter of water or will be so in a matter of days or hours, where also so many of our staff live.  Not to speak of the children who attend our slum/shack schools.

It is an absolute fact that Bangkok is now flooding - flooded - & will continue to flood - as this huge mass of water flows through and around Bangkok into the sea. Thus, over one thousand slum kindergarten children who attend our schools now live in flooded shacks - living helter-skelter.  Their slums, and thus our kindergartens, will be flooded for the next two months. At least so the weather man tells us. Plus another month to repair the school & their shacks back to normal.

Most of our slum neighbors, especially the elderly, are living in retched conditions - refusing to leave their homes, some from nostalgia, but most from fear of theft. It is a horrible fact here that "flood theft" is as rampant as the waters themselves.

Now let me say clearly that today, here in Klong Toey in our Mercy Centre, we are not yet flooded.  Will be flooded?  Maybe not.  Maybe yes. But the road in front of our Mercy Centre will certainly have a meter of water - garbage filled water, stagnant for a couple months.  Our Mercy Centre is one meter above road level. However, the 4 slums around us are even lower than road level.  Road Level is the same as normal Chao Phaya River water level and although we are two hundred meters from the river - there are no barriers between us and the river.  No dikes, no flood gates.

I must add something here and this is so important.  We are not closing our schools for 2 - 3 months. We will not let these kids miss 3 months of school because this kindergarten time is such an important part of their education. What are we going to do?  Right now, at this minute,  I don't know. But do believe me, in a couple weeks, all these kids will be back in school, somehow, someway. We will spend what money we have to do this for our kids. I live and die by my word.

These kids, plus their teachers so many of whom are also flooded out, will soon go back to school and the teachers will teach.  All of you who are in our Mercy family now reading this please do help us. And if you can't, then say some powerful and intense prayers for us.  How will we get our one thousand slum kids back to school? As I said above.  I don't know how, at this moment as I write this, but believe me... oh yes, we will.

The price of eggs!  Last week half a dozen eggs cost 60 cents USD, and today, it's one dollar & fifty cents USD for that same half dozen eggs!!! Stores? They are pretty much sold-out and can't get in new supplies!!!! We have stock-piled enough rice for two weeks to feed our 65 HIV/AIDS kids and the other 140 street/slum/orphan kids  & 30 bed ridden HIV/AIDS patients who live with us.  We have instant noodles for the kids on the streets. We have prepared our Mercy Centre, much as we can.  For Grannies & their grandchildren and especially the HIV/AIDS infirm who will need a place to stay.   Over 400 Commercial Bank outlets are closed.  We are hurrying-scurrying  to get our payroll out as I write this  today, so  the staff can still go to the big banks to get their monthly salaries.

On a wider scale, The major flood relief centres on the outskirts of Bangkok are now closed and the 9,000 people who - a week ago - took shelter in these relief centres, including those who are hospitalized, have been moved elsewhere because the centres are flooded.  All 12 industrial estates around Bangkok are flooded, thus more than 600,000 people have been laid off. The military are doing first rate service with thousands of sand bags - shoring up broken water walls - rescuing people and puppy dogs and kitty cats.

This  is now a disaster of  tsunami proportions. What do we need?  Think of it this way, let's send a child back to school.  So... a pair of school shoes, a school uniform.  A book bag, pencils and notebooks.  Even a Teddy Bear for the smaller children!  A wooden board to repair the floor in a school.  A can of paint. A couple of wood 2 x 4's for a door frame - a chair to sit on.  A new gas burner stove to cook on.

Anything to re-stock - to re-store. Again, I shall be brazen and send you our bank account number.  Never, in my life as a priest of over 45 years have I ever asked for anything for myself, and I shall not start doing so now, but I am not ashamed to beg for our kids, and that is what I am doing now.  Begging for our kids - who are part of all our Mercy Family - yours and mine.

The following bank details:

Kasikorn Bangkok Public Company Limited

Branch: Sukhumvit 57 Branch

Account: 046-1-03665-1

Account name:  Human Development Foundation

Account Type: Current Account

Bank Address: 1147 Sukhumvit Rd., N. Klongton, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Tel.: (662) 391 9434

Swift Code: KASITHBK

Respectfully      Prayers     Fr.Joe