Planning for disasters in Thailand
Thailand – the land of smiles – can sometimes show a less friendly face: for example, when natural disasters and weather-related events force people to flee their homes.
IOM is mandated to assist displaced populations and host governments in Camp and Collective Center Management (CCCM) during these sort of disasters. With USAID/OFDA backing, IOM is assisting in a national training programme to help Thais to be better prepared to help themselves when disaster strikes.
Back in May the Organization’s Thailand office started work on the “Capacity Building towards Resilience, Reducing Risks of Population Displacement in Thailand”, funded by OFDA/USAID. It sets out to train officials from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) of the Royal Thai Government on CCCM in natural disasters, train trainers for provincial programmes and produce teaching tools for the local contexts. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM7qetRaTKQ&feature=youtu.be for an example of the training materials.)
Two introductory sessions were conducted at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Academy (DPMA) to the north of Bangkok in early September. The three-day session – attended by 81 officials – looked at camp lifecycle, laws and framework, protection, standards and management.
Later in the month a group of 42 participants from DDPM, Thai Red Cross and other civil society partners took part in an intensive five-day course on participatory methods, training techniques, contextualized learning tools and Collective Center management. The course was conducted completely in Thai and with Thai training materials, produced under the framework of the OFDA/USAID programme.
“We know that most lives are saved in the first 24 hours after a disaster,” said Jeff Labovitz, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Thailand. “And most lives are saved not by international rescuers but by local people. That’s why it’s crucial to help people get organized as soon as disasters hit.”
IOM’s Thailand team is moving into the second phase of the project, supporting the DDPM as the trainers fan out across some of the most hazard-prone areas for ten regional CCCM sessions.
The project comes to an end in April of 2014, by which time it will have trained over 400 Thai officials.