GENEVA, 17 November 2011
- The flood crisis affecting over eight million people in Thailand will be discussed at the 19th ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) Summit which opened today in Bali, Indonesia.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, following a tour of the flood-affected areas yesterday, said he was told by Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, that she was going to discuss the crisis when she attends her first ASEAN summit.
The Secretary General confirming his own attendance at the summit, said: “We will discuss this matter - how ASEAN as a regional organization, how the international community can help in this matter.
“One important lesson which we have to learn - either the Thai Government or all the Member States of the United Nations - is that we need to strengthen our capacity to reduce disaster risk. The United Nations has launched a global campaign to strengthen the capacity of each and every country for disaster risk reduction preparedness.
“Depending upon how well you are prepared, even though we may not be able to predict natural disasters, we can save many more human lives. We have seen such good examples in many countries. Therefore, I am again urging all Member States to strengthen their preparedness against disasters. And the United Nations will continue to provide technical and logistical support.”
The Secretary General flew in a helicopter over the stricken city and met with evacuees and staff at the Chula Flood Relief Centre. He observed: “I shall never forget what I have seen. Many houses ruined and isolated, surrounded by water. Roads impassable. Many industrial plants destroyed. Even the airport, Don Muang airport, is just completely unoperational. This is really a great challenge.”
At the same time he was “deeply moved and encouraged by such a strong determined will of the Government and people and resilience of the Thai people to overcome this. I am sure that the Thai Government and people will be able to build back better.”