Thailand's recent floods point to need for preventive measures, UN official says

17 August 2001

Recent flash floods which killed scores of people in northern Thailand demonstrated the need for preventive measures such as those proposed a decade ago by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), its chief said today.

ESCAP Executive Secretary Kim Hak-Su issued a statement in Bangkok today urging Thailand to implement the recommendations, which were put forward in 1989. "Twelve years ago, southern Thailand experienced a similar type of disaster as what is going on now in the north," he said, recalling that at the time, an expert team from ESCAP had produced a series of proposals to stem the problem. "It appears that the recommended measures for prevention of such hazards have gone unheeded," he said.

The Executive Secretary called on Thailand to revisit the recommendations, which included arresting the deterioration of the country's forest cover, installing flood warning systems and creating central flood authorities. "Lessons must be learned from the past and present disasters in order to take adequate and appropriate preventive measures," he said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, after typhoon Usagi hit northern Thailand over the weekend, flash floods killed over 100 people, while an additional 450,000 were affected by the disaster.


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