Religious communities in Thailand are responding to a continuing flood crisis resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the last three months - writes Hisashi Yukimoto.
At least 373 people are reported to have died and flooding has reached the capital city of Bangkok.
Buddhadharma, a Buddhist online news site, has reported that Wat Sa Ket, or 'the Temple of the Golden Mount' in Bangkok, is offering counselling to flood victims.
In conjunction with the National Office of Buddhism, the initiative is called Dharma for the Mental Rehabilitation of Flood Victims - mobilising some 200 monks "with training in Buddhist psychology and counselling" to various evacuation sites.
Many Buddhist temples are already flooded. On 29 October, The Bangkok Post reported that flood waters from the Chao Phraya River crept into the grounds of Wat Phra Kaew - the Grand Palace and temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most revered Buddhist temple in the city.
Meanwhile, Thai Muslims Support Victims, a non-profit Islamic group in Bangkok, is using Facebook to update their relief operations.
A spokesman for the Church of Christ in Thailand, Prawate Khid-arn, located in Chiang Mai, said that "a truck loaded with rice, drinking water, instant noodles, dry food and vegetables went to Nakorn Phathom province where over 200 church members as well as other villagers are stranded in the remote areas."
On 2 November 2011, he added, two other trucks headed out to remote provinces. "For a long rehabilitation programme, an integrated strategic plan is being drafted," he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand said on its website that Archimandrite Oleg, the church’s representative, asked for "fundraising for the needs of the flood victims in all parishes of the Orthodox Church in Thailand." He also suggested setting up "ecclesiastical concerts of the church choirs in all resort cities, simultaneously fundraising for the needs of sufferers."
The Thai Catholic Church, via the Catholic aid agency Caritas and its Refugee and Emergency Commission, launched a plan to help flood victims in the provinces and the capital, AsiaNews.it, a Roman Catholic news service, reported on 26 October.
Speaking on behalf of Christ Church Bangkok, an English-speaking Anglican church, the Rev Peter Cook commented: "we continue to pray for the people and communities who are flooded and live in fear of flood. This includes a number of Christ Church people. We will soon be planning how we can help with aid once the immediate crisis is over."
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]