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World News

Missionary calls for prayer as Thailand enforces national curfew

by Heather Preston

A missionary working with exploited children in Thailand has asked Christians to pray as new measures put further strain on aid workers.

It comes as the Prime Minister announced a national curfew would be enforced from Friday evening, to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The country has been forced to close its borders to tourists and many areas are in complete lockdown as cases of COVID19 continue to rise.

Life Impact International is a Christian anti-trafficking charity that provides rescue homes for exploited children.

Founder Lana Vasquez explains that staff had to react quickly to the last minute measures set out by the government.

"We found out on the day, that lockdown would be in effect until April 30th.

"And when you have around 200 people to think about and take care of and prepare food for the next month, it's a challenge," Vasquez said.

She explained that the organisation has had to implement strict protocol for staff, cleaners and those getting food supplies, to ensure the children are protected from infection.

"The majority of our children already have some kind of medical complication because they were previously exploited, whether it's hepatitis, HIV, other ones have respiratory issues, lungs, heart, all of it.

"We can't afford for one of our kids to go to the hospital and we can't afford for one of our caregivers to get it, because it's all hands on deck right now," she said.

Vasquez says April would usually be a time for house parents to take a "much needed break" from their year round roles while the children enjoy planned summer holiday programs. 

"We have all those children in houses with house parents that can't have a day off now.

"We just have to operate in grace and are praying for renewed strength and a second wind because what was supposed to be happening right now can't happen," she added.

Vazquez says the struggles of obtaining medical supplies, food and hygiene products is heightened for those working in the developing world and has called on the Christian community to pray.

"At these times, in third world nations, it's a divine protection that we need, honestly because the things that are accessible to everyone else, sometimes aren't accessible to us.

"We need protection from this virus for our staff and our children. Be praying for their health, their strength and grace. And for the children that they don't go stir crazy in the same environment for so long."

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