Friday, September 21, 2012

United Nations launches initiative to plug 'gaps' in Thai disaster management

Phuket Gazette (Thailand): Marking nearly one year ago since floodwaters inundated most of Thailand and its capital Bangkok, the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched a new initiative today to boost the capacity of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) to be able to respond to large-scale floods and other natural disasters.

The DDPM is the central agency in Thailand responsible for coordinating disaster response and disaster risk reduction. Its Phuket office features frequently in the news, particularly during monsoon season floods and in the days before and after tsunami drills and tower tests.

“This partnership with UNDP is an opportunity to enhance the level of knowledge and the disaster management capacity of Thailand to acceptable international standards,” said Bangkok-based Wiboon Sanguanpong, Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

“Disaster severity is increasing and is impacting Thailand to a much greater extent. Department staff and the organization as a whole need to learn new knowledge and skills to deal with the increasing complexity.”

The three-year initiative will strengthen the capacity of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to adapt to disasters when they occur, by boosting the institutional capacity of both the Department and related line ministries to be better prepared to address climate change and environmental security issues....

Thai military and volunteers work to repair a leak in a dike on the canal in On Nut, Bangkok. The flooding was a mere 300 meters away from Bangkok's main thoroughfare Sukhumvit, but has been contained, October 31, 2011. (VOA)

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