Over 500,000 gathered to see royal procession

national October 17, 2016 02:24

By The Nation

3,124 Viewed

MORE than 500,000 people gathered on the route along which the body of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was moved from Siriraj Hospital to the Grand Palace last Friday, according to the Public Health Ministry.

The ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, Dr Kiattibhoom Vongrachit, yesterday said 24 medical teams along the route provided services to 43,616 people that day.

“Most of them needed smelling salts because they felt woozy,” he said, “Some had minor accidents”.

The much-revered monarch passed away at the age of 89 last Thursday. The news of his passing plunged Thailand into grief.

As soon as people learnt that a royal procession would be carrying his body along the route on Friday, they headed to find a spot nearby and waited for hours to show their undying love and respect for him.

The crowds were so huge that some said they were at the other end of the road and hardly caught a glimpse of any vehicle in the procession.

Kiattibhoom revealed yesterday that the ministry had prepared medical teams and focused on the first 72 hours since the news of the King’s passing became public.

“It’s the critical stage,” he said. “About 406 people sought help during the first 24 hours to try to cope with their grief and heart conditions.”

He said after receiving attention, people’s conditions had improved.

The ministry has also set up emergency medical teams and emotional-rehabilitation teams for people in the provinces.

Kiattibhoom advised people who planned to take part in activities held in remembrance of their beloved King to take proper precautions.

“Bring along a hat or an umbrella, drinking water, food, smelling salts and any medicine you may need to take,” he said.

He added that if any member of the public felt ill amid the big crowds, he or she should rush immediately to medical teams in the area.

At present, the Royal Household Bureau has allowed mourners to enter the Grand Palace to pay their respects to a portrait of the much-revered monarch and sign farewell messages.

There were very long queues yesterday, with people remaining even amid heavy rain.