Attapeu, Lao PDR: At a temporary shelter, Porntheera demonstrated how to properly wash hands to maintain good personal hygiene.

For the past 11 years, Ms. Porntheera Chaleekort, a registered nurse, has been a dedicating member of the Thai Red Cross Societies’ Relief and Community Health Bureau. Her work takes her to every corner of Thailand where help is needed the most. In 2017, she joined her team at the Thai Red Cross for a National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) training where she learned about the needs assessment, relief management, water and sanitation, camp management and psychosocial support among other disasters management-related topics. The training has enabled her and her team to effectively coordinate human resources, relief supplies, equipment, and vehicles in order to address the needs of the most vulnerable people during emergencies. A few months later, she joined the Red Cross Red Crescent Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) and was ready to respond to disasters in the region.

In July 2018, Porntheera was able to use what she learned to support the Lao Red Cross to provide immediate assistance to people of Attapeu Province in Lao PDR whose houses and farmlands were badly hit by the flash floods caused by the collapse of a hydropower dam. The scale of the devastation was nothing the country had ever experienced before. The support helped to fill in the gap in terms of resources and technical expertise for the operation. At the same time, it also provided an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning for the two Red Cross National Societies.

For Porntheera, it was a proud moment to be able to apply her knowledge and skills, as well as years of experiences in disaster response, to help those in need especially the most vulnerable. “I was able to help pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, newborns, children, the elderly and everyone else. I educated them about family planning as well as healthcare for children, mothers with newborn babies and breastfeeding mothers,” said Porntheera. She added that the experience in Attapeu taught her the importance of psychosocial support, not only for the affected but for the responders as well.

Porntheera during a disaster response mission to Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, Thailand which was hit by the Tropical Storm Pabuk in January 2019


Photo by: Thai Red Cross Society