49 homeless died on the street last year
At least 49 homeless people died on the streets last year, some of them due to HIV-Aids, and the number of people living in Bangkok's public spaces is on the rise, the Issarachon Foundation reported yesterday.The foundation, which provides assistance to the homeless, especially those with HIV and Aids, found many homeless with symptoms that were sometimes too advanced to treat.
Some of the homeless, for example, had lived with HIV for years, but had no access to the life-saving drugs. Although the country's healthcare schemes are supposed to cover the homeless, the Issarachon Foundation found that they are tacitly being turned away.
The number of homeless in Bangkok's public spaces increased last year to 2,846, including 382 children, up from 2,451 two years ago. Many have lost their homes due to various circumstances while others have run away due to family problems or other reasons.
"Of these people, 690 have had health problems," the foundation said.
The foundation said 362 of the street people were engaged in the sex trade and face a higher risk of sexually-transmitted diseases.
The highest number of homeless squatting in public spaces is 518 in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district, which includes Sanam Luang. Bang Sue comes second, with 263. Others are Chatuchak with 215, Pathum Wan with 202 and Samphanthawong in fifth place with 173.