Thai Cave Rescue Highlights Power of Localization


After the recent cave rescue of a football team and their coach in Thailand, the public has now been able to gain insight into the huge number of individuals and their concerted efforts that made the rescue a success. While the Thai Navy SEALs, international divers, local government and military officials played a large role in coordinating and executing the rescue operation, scores more local people were involved in the efforts behind the scenes.



Mae Bua Chaicheun is a farmer in Chiang Rai who helped in with the rescue efforts by cooking meals for the rescue volunteers. She volunteered at the rescue site for a week straight, before returning home and finding part of her farm flooded and some of her crops destroyed. In order to make rescue efforts easier for the boys and their coach, water had been rerouted from the cave and ended up ruining the crops of many farmers in the area. Chaicheun said that she has no regrets about leaving her farm to do her part to help save those in the cave, and her biggest concern was that all of the people were rescued safely.



Rawinmart Luelert has a laundry facility in Chiang Rai. After watching the rescue efforts on television and seeing the workers involved wearing filthy clothing, Luelert knew she could help. For the duration of the rescue effort, she picked up all of the dirty clothes from the rescue site at around 10 p.m. and had the clothes cleaned and returned to the rescue site by 4 a.m. the next day. In addition to Luelert, her friends and employees were working throughout the night in order to get all of the clothes clean in time for the next day’s rescue efforts.



Sittthisak Sawanrak is a motorbike taxi driver, and personally knew one of the boys who was trapped in the cave. For his contribution to the effort, he rounded up some of his friends and they all volunteered to drive people to and from the rescue site for free. “Everyone from this town sees the boys as members of their own family, so we don’t think twice about giving money or time to help get them out,” said Sawanrak.



These seemingly small, individual acts amounted to an invaluable contribution to the overall rescue effort. As those in the humanitarian field know, the localization of aid is an imperative aspect of assessing the needs of the most vulnerable and getting those people the proper help and care that they need. There is no effort too small when it comes to offering aid in the humanitarian field.



Currently, HumanSurge is working closely with aid organizations and professionals in Bangladesh in an attempt to streamline the hiring process and help localize aid efforts. If you or an organization would like to register, you can do it here.


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  • Yegana Guliyeva

    Hi, very good examples and great highlights. Thank you for expressing them and making them a part of the history that kept the whole world’s attention for so many days!

    Although its one of the very few recognition of the coordinated local help, I am sure there were many more global occasions where we missed those locals’ help in crisis times in our search for “more quality, modern or up to OUR standard” assistance. We kinda hijack those innocent helpers efforts and make them step back.. And of course we then come to the conclusion that the localisation of the aid would be better.. Kinda scratching our right ear with the left hand, to my mind.

    13/07/2018 at 4:57 pm
    • Hi Yegana, we completely agree with you and that’s why it was important to us to highlight the local efforts. Thanks for your thoughts and for reading!

      16/07/2018 at 10:29 am

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