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New U.S. Programs to Help Thailand Manage Future Floods

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Bangkok, Thailand – The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing three new programs to help Thai authorities and first responders prepare for and manage future emergencies.

The programs, valued at approximately USD 988,000, are in addition to the USD 1.1 million in emergency assistance USAID has already provided, and they build on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s joint statement November 16 with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that the United States would “help Thailand improve its capacity to prevent and respond to disasters like these floods.”

The first program will provide Incident Command System (ICS) training to Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation experts in the Thai Ministry of Interior and will be led by the U.S. Forest Service. ICS is a management framework that integrates personnel, equipment, procedures, facilities and communications during complex events, helping to make response operations more effective.

The two other programs will be managed by the Bangkok-based Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. The first of these will help hospitals, first responders and local communities prepare for future disasters. Communities are often the first to feel the effects of a natural disaster; demands for assistance and information can come hours before professional responders arrive. To help Thailand respond more quickly in such situations, the assistance will provide community-level training in search and rescue techniques, first aid, and water rescue. It will also help doctors, nurses, and hospital personnel plan more effectively for potential disasters and mass casualty events.

The other program focuses on risk reduction, with training in 19 highly flood-prone Thai provinces. The purpose is to strengthen community, regional and national response capacity, and the program will work with Thai government agencies, communities, and local government agencies. Other elements include a national course on flood management, flood and disaster planning, simulations, sharing lessons learned, and developing materials and information for planners and decision makers.

The United States looks forward to continuing to work with the Thai government to address long-term flood recovery efforts.