Flooding Early Recovery and Coordination Support for Thailand



(from of October 2011)

Severe flooding has continued to ravage Thailand in recent months. Since late July, Tropical Storm Nockten and seasonal southwest monsoon have caused torrential rain and widespread flooding in the North and Northeast regions of Thailand. In early October, the tropical storm Nalgae brought additional heavy precipitation causing prolong floods affecting the Northeast, East and Central part of the country.

Latest reports by the national authorities indicate that 61 provinces across the country have so far been damaged in some way by the floods and that the flooding in the country, particularly in the central region, is reaching a crisis point. Bangkok, the capital, is now also under threat. Data accumulated by the Thai Government indicates that so far there have been 281 deaths and more than 784,097 households or approximately 2.38 million people are affected in 60 out of 77 provinces.. The floods have also damaged 8.6 million rai of farmland and 9.9 million livestock. So far, 1,601 schools are affected.

Currently, 30 provinces are beset with heavy or partial flooding and have been declared “disaster areas”. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra stated that the situation is getting worse especially in the central plains as flood water topped by water discharged from major dams which are beyond or almost at full capacity is moving southward.

Twelve (12) provinces are now on high alert for the threat of heavy rain and overflowing rivers including Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Phetchburi, Chonburi, Rayong, Chantaburi and Trad. Currently, 60 main highways in 17 provinces are not passable and 154 roads in 28 provinces are randomly not passable. All North-bound train operation has been suspended. The flood surge is expected to reach Bangkok and its greater area shortly.

The floods have caused great economic losses for the country as well as posed a number of significant risks upon vulnerable populations, e.g. children, aging and people with disabilities in terms of health, shelter, livelihoods for a considerable period of time after the flood. There has been an estimate of economic losses between 50 billion baht and 104 billion baht (or between US $1.66 billion and US $3.4 billion). According to the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare on October 6, 2011, a total of 1,215 industrial factories in 33 provinces were submerged, affecting 41,099 workers.

In response to the situation, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) has set up a 24-hour Flood Relief Operation Centre (FROC) at Don Muang airport in Bangkok aiming to integrate flood relief and preventive tasks of for all agencies, including warning issuance, data gathering, plan development and providing advice and information to the public. At the provincial level, Provincial Command Centres, chaired by the Governor and supported by provincial DDPM, were established. Despite all mechanisms the RTG has put in place, the disaster scale is massive and the situation is anticipated to be protracted with impacts not yet fully assessed.

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Thailand has been in regular contact with the Thai authorities including Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) and has been monitoring the flooding situation and its humanitarian and development impacts. The core HCT members (i.e. designated cluster leads) met on 7 October to exchange information, assess the current situation and agree on next steps. It was agreed to immediately send an official letter of support to the Government, to produce bi-weekly situation reports, and map out response capacity of the HCT by sector. It was emphasized and agreed by all parties that the UN will work as one team and there is a need to strengthen UN coordination for an effectively coordinated approach and response.

The Resident Coordinator a. i. wrote to the Prime Minister on 10 October to offer UN support to the national efforts. Pending the Government reaction and response to the offer, UN agencies have been regularly liaising with relevant counterparts to assess the situation and provide support as needed. Some preliminary financial and relief supports have been made to the Thai counterparts. As the floods situation gets worse as predicted, it is very likely that the UN will need to further greatly increase its support in terms of humanitarian relief, needs assessment, coordination and information management, and recovery planning and management.

Objectives and Activities

In view of the above and the anticipated need to respond to the situation in a proactive manner as well as the need in the immediate early recovery period, UNDP Thailand in coordination with RC office seeks to request the initial resources from the TRAC 3 Category II funding to assist the RTG and enhance capacity of the UN to implement the IASC plan. This funding support will focus especially on supporting the RC system in data and information management and in media communications strategy for the purpose of strengthening the coordination function. It will also provide a framework for needs assessment, as well as for planning and technical support and capacity building for early recovery in close collaboration with the responsible Thai counterparts.

The initial TRAC 3 funding of US$100,000 requested will address the coordination needs of the response to the sudden crisis resulting from the flood emergency, assessment activities to be carried out by UN agencies as well as early recovery response framework to be addressed by UNDP as cluster lead. More specifically, three Outputs will be achieved:

Output 1: Resident Coordinator Functions Strengthened – The RC Office capabilities for information management, communication with counterparts, and coordination among UN agencies will be strengthened through the provision of expertise at national level and technical support. It will focus in particular on RC on coordination, information gathering about the flood situation and the impacts, international humanitarian support, as well as communication strategies. This support will assist the RC to enhance liaison activities both within the UN and between the UN and other development partners ($20,000).

Output 2: Initial Needs Assessment Support for the UN system and early recovery framework in relation with the Royal Thai Government (RTG) mechanisms. Activities include possibly an immediate needs assessment mission (pending Government response to UN offer), and basic needs assessment for the development of relevant early recovery framework in consultation with stakeholders and the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) ($35,000).

Output 3: Enhanced Capacity to Address Early Recovery – UNDP will employ technical expertise including early recovery technical personnel (a national expert) to provide technical advice and inputs on post-flood assistance and planning to national counterparts, as well as support the CO in strategic planning and programming on early recovery and preparedness in selected affected areas ($45,000).

The Project will be subject to Direct Execution by UNDP and will follow established procedures of UNDP for effective delivery of project results (Prince II and RMG). A Project Board will be established with the Resident Representative as Executive, a senior RC Officer and DDPM as Beneficiary and a UNDP DRR as Supplier. The project manager will be a staff member of the Governance/Environment Unit of UNDP.

All activities will be conducted in coordination with the National Disaster Management Authority of the Royal Government of Thailand, and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.