Disasters in Thailand
Presently, disastrous situations have been frequently risen up with more complication such as tsunami, mudflow, wildfire, flooding due to over precipitation, overflow dam, flash flood, and storm attack including disasters from political and social violence. These mentioned catastrophes are pricelessly damaging lives and properties and currently a close to home topic for Thailand. A report from Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior, on November 19, 2010 has shown numbers of cases affected from disastrous situations as 51 provinces, 546 districts, 3,877 sub-districts, 31,176 villages, and 2,523,608 families; with 8,663,221 people affected from the disaster and 232 death cases.
The academicians have estimated damaged agricultural area as more than 10 million Rais (approximately 16 billion square meters) which would be troublesome under disastrous and emergency situations. The countless number of victims would be distressed through injury, sickness, dehydration, starvation, and lost in communication especially for vulnerable groups namely patients, children, elderlies who could not help themselves. In accordance with previous disastrous situations, there is limitation of relevant rescue units which might be insufficient preparation of critical situation mitigation plan, more complexity of the situation than assessed scenario, malfunction of the rescue system after disaster, as well as lack of operational flexibility or etc.
Key lesson learned
According to tsunami, flooding, and other disastrous situations; it is not possible for the victims to only waiting for the rescue, since there are countless number of victims around. Moreover, levels of victims are also varied from vulnerable group, which could not help themselves, to those who could support themselves and also others. Community is therefore the first group to be influenced by disastrous situation. Meanwhile, disaster management from the central unit might not respond promptly to all victimized communities at once. In addition, it is possible that community’s potential, resources, and knowledge might be ignored. Hence, such gap could be filled by risk management by the community itself.
Cycle of Disaster Preventation and Mitigation
The new protocol of disaster resilience is called Cycle of Disaster Preventation and Mitigation, consisting of three stages.
- Preparedness is to maximize the capability of government, relevant associations, communities and people before facing the destructive and immediate disasters through effective preventation and mitigation in hope to lessening impacts and damanges to people and the country.
- Emergency response comprises of rescue, medical care, disaster relief services, and distribution of necessity and supply to cop with impacts during the events.
- Recovery is the healing process from the aftermath with development plans to review, analyse, and find better preventation and mitigation actions.
Community participatory network
Disaster relief associations, foundations and services.
Example 1: Disaster Management for Community
Tamode community developed the disaster preparedness map which presents the local and neighboring areas with degrees of potential flood impacts. It also indicates on housing types and locations of elderly, children and people with disabilities so rescues can be prioritized. The goal of the map is to illustrate the big picture of the community of where is safe zone and why. This will prepare people when disasters occur of how they could reduce impacts at some levels, and warn those who or which areas are likely to experience the most impacts. Additionally, Tamode community has surveyed the route to evacuate people. They priorize children, elderly, disabilities people and pragment women to be first evacuated. Thus, they take into consideration of safety and risk map as a part of disaster preparedness map.
Example 2: Rainwater harvesting tank in the department store
A department store in the Philippines called ‘SM City Masinag’ is located in the high flooding risk area. In order prevent the damage, the water storage tank was designed to harvest the stormwater from building’s roof and drainage system when the typhoon hits. The tank with 150,000 cubic meters can prevent the flood both inside and outside of the building. In addition, it can reduce water consumption cost in normal operating condition (DDMP, 2014).
There are other sectors; infrastructure; education; public health; and residential, that can implement the disaster risk abatement measures. Further information of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Guideline, Please visit Disaster Risk Reduction Guideline.
- Community Adaptation in Disaster Areas, Sustainable Development Foundation (Thai language)
- DDMP. 2014. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) for sustainable development. http://www.undp.org/content/dam/thailand/docs/หนังสือการลดความเสี่ยงจากภัยพิบัติสู่การพัฒนาที่ยั่งยืน_DRRGuideline.pdf