Fortune 500 firms step in to help

PHUKET: Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura on Friday announced the top five mid- and long-term priorities that US Fortune 500 companies can help with, following the December 26 tsunami.

Governor Udomsak met with James Lee Witt, former Director of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and fellow consultants from James Lee Witt Associates, which provides disaster recovery and mitigation management consultancy services to state and local governments.

The team was in Phuket on behalf of the US Chamber of Commerce, through which the top-performing 500 US public trading companies are prepared to provide aid to tsunami-affected areas.

“We want to know the five top-priority projects in each area in order to help people [affected by the tsunami],” Mr Witt said.

Gov Udomsak listed the five top priorities the companies should help with as follows:

1. to upgrade the equipment and the level of training of staff at local emergency relief centers;

2. to provide local Public Health officers with medical emergency training;

3. to help local organizations install a tsunami warning system on all popular beaches in Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi provinces;

4. to improve communications between local organizations so that they can cope better with future disasters;

5. to help with other projects aimed at alleviating the damage caused by a future tsunami.

Gov Udomsak said, “This list of priorities will be presented to the [Thai] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will pass on its recommendations to the Thai embassy in Washington DC. They in turn will coordinate with the companies before helping by implementing projects.”

Mr Witt said that he will meet with the CEOs of the 500 companies in April to raise funds for the projects.

Phuket News
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