The forum was held at Phuket Rajabhat University and presided over by General Dapong Ratanasuwan, Privy Councilor from the Office of the His Majesty the King’s Privvy Council, who was joined by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, representatives from public and private sector organisations and local students.
Governor Narong detailed how continuous heavy rain throughout October and November, prompted by the phenomenon known as La Nina, caused flooding and landslides across the island which in turn caused significant damage to homes and buildings and also resulted in widespread gridlocked traffic jams. He also explained how the adverse weather conditions were having a negative impact on the environment and the state of local geology.
Collectively these factors had raised major concerns among many people across the island who said they were not receiving enough clear information on how the government was repsonding to climate change, which was subsequently undermining their confidence. He added that the government would learn lessons from the recent happenings which would be implemented to minimise furture threats.
Governor Narong also explained there are proceedures set in place, referring to Section 15 of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act B.E. 2550 which was ratified in 2007 and offers guidelines in the event of natural disasters to ensure people are impacted as minimally as possible.
He further explained that Thailand’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065 are proof that the government has a defined set of policies in place to respond to the impact of climate change. The role of local governments in contributing to these targets was significant, Governor Narog added, especially in the context of urban development and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
General Daophong explained how it was imperative that all local government agencies align and cooperate in an effort to achieve the set targets. Forums like yesterday’s allowed the sharing of best-practice information, which was vitally important, he added, and future such initiatives were equally important to ensure the ongoing sharing of knowledge.
After the forum concluded, representatives from the District 18 Phuket Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center carried out a series of water and land disaster response drills in the grounds outside the conference room.
Water rescue equipment was on display, including rescue boats, jet skis and rubber boats while demonstrations on high-building rescue techniques and fire management were conducted, which included the use of tower ladders and a long-distance water pump.
The demonstrations were intended to install confidence in attendees that the Center can respond when required to situations that may arise along the Andaman coast in the five provinces of Phuket, Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi and Trang.