UNDP beefs up capacity to deal with severe flooding in Thailand
BANGKOK – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has expressed deep concern and offered support to the Government of Thailand as the country battles severe flooding that has killed more than 280 people and affected more than two million others since July this year.
More than 80 percent of the country’s 76 provinces have been affected by the floods. In excess of 900 industrial plants and farmland areas have suffered damage and millions of heads of livestock have been affected.
Nearly 30 provinces have been declared disaster areas and 12 are on high alert for threats of heavy rain and river overflow.
The UN has been in regular contact with authorities including the Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, and has been monitoring the flood situation and its humanitarian and development impacts.
According to the country’s irrigation authorities, 11 out of the 26 major dams in Thailand currently hold more water than their official capacity, while others are between 82 and 99 percent full, and need to release excess water, forcing more evacuations in downstream areas.
UNDP is increasing its own capacity to support the Thai people at this time, setting aside both financial and technical emergency resources, and will continue to work with the Government to support Thailand’s longer-term recovery and rehabilitation.
The 21st century has been marked by an escalating impact of disasters from natural hazards and a huge loss of life and destruction of livelihoods and communities. In 2010, nearly 400,000 people were killed by disasters worldwide and more than 200 million were affected. Economic damage was estimated at US$110 billion.
“Vulnerability to disasters is growing faster than resilience,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday in his message to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction. “Disaster risk reduction should be an everyday concern for everybody. Let us all invest today for a safer tomorrow.”