Thai government readies against El Niño impact with daily monitoring centre

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

The government is preparing to set up a daily monitoring centre and formulate contingency plans to counter the effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon, according to Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

In a meeting held yesterday, the committee responsible for weather phenomena monitoring, chaired by Phumtham, also deliberated on the reallocation of funds from major investment projects which haven’t shown short-term returns to swiftly address the ongoing drought crisis.

El Niño and La Niña are projected to linger for a duration of up to three years, causing serious repercussions for the population and all sectors of industry, Phumtham highlighted. He further stated that the committee has resolved to form a task force that will monitor the situation daily, with the Thai Meteorological Department’s (TMD) director-general at its helm and the Commerce Ministry functioning as the coordinating body.

Additionally, he mentioned plans for a disaster warning system to keep the public updated, along with the development of contingency plans to alleviate the impact. The government’s objective is to devise a recovery plan that will aid and offer relief to the regions and sectors affected by these weather phenomena.

Phumtham also noted that the TMD will oversee the situation daily and decide on the issuance of timely disaster warnings to the public. He suggested that the government may contemplate suspending large-scale projects that have not yet shown returns, to reallocate their budgets towards drought relief measures, such as speeding up the construction of small water sources and water intake areas.

The plan includes the establishment of four subcommittees. An academic panel will monitor and evaluate the weather phenomena, another subcommittee will assess the short-term, medium-term, and long-term impacts of El Niño and La Niña, along with devising mitigation strategies.

Meanwhile, a public relations and notification subcommittee will be responsible for employing efficient technology and communication systems to spread information about these climate phenomena.

Lastly, a subcommittee will conduct site visits and verify specific impacts in various areas, working in collaboration with local authorities and the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department to propose urgent measures to safeguard the people’s assets and the economy, Bangkok Post reported.

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Atima Homtientong

Atima is a dedicated news writer living in Bangkok. With a degree from Mahidol University, she focuses on reporting key issues and happenings around the country. In her off time, Atima enjoys writing and producing music.