When Poverty Knocks

There has been no development for residents of Bangkok's slums. Its as if people, particularly the urban and rural poor, are expected to fend for themselves in a junta-ruled Thailand. Scavenging, working through the labyrinths by day and the main roads, the markets by night.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the provincial government of Thailand's capital, has failed miserably in the implementation of public policy and within the areas of accountability of expenditures. BMA has also failed in public health access for the poor, and non-existent housing/shelter plans for the homeless. There is an increase of dengue cases, no mental health care programs and a bleak outlook for those with disabilities.    

Bangkok housing

BMA, middle-class society, officials and the junta have often ignored the homeless and the residents of slums. Thais are not the only ones facing these challenges. There is a growing migrant and refugee population, that face sociopolitical exclusion, and often are not protected by laws nor invited to urban development plans.

Household debts have increased. For those having no formal access to financial institutions, the unbankables are caught in a cycle of debts with loan sharks and terrorized by debt collectors and landlords.

Meanwhile, the junta has failed in its much-hyped national campaign to reboot the economy. Billions of dollars in junta spending aimed at revitalising Thailand's ailing rural economy have failed to reach farmers hit by drought and poverty. In desperation young people from the countryside travel to the cities in search for work and a better life. Yet many are still struggling, as cities, like Bangkok, offer no hope under this administration.

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