For several weeks, Thailand has been hit by a monstrous flood, no one witnessed since the beginning of the century. The country is actually undergoing a lack of anticipation and prevention of risks: the death toll is already 427, whereas material damages can be numbered by billions Euros. The torrential rains concern almost all parts of Thailand, affecting more than 9 million people.
Floods are all the more frightening than their consequences have not been taken into account sufficiently. According to the Thai victims, finding drinking water is almost impossible right now. While evacuations are on the increase, one of the numerous inhabitants who decided to stay in Bangkok declares that “shops impose rationing on water, and are already lacking of some goods”. Without anticipation, pooling resources could not happen.
And this does not constitute the only pitfall contained in the government’s response to this major crisis. As a colossal body of water waved into the city those last days, Thai authorities do not manage to agree on how to cope with this emergency situation. Contrary to the Prime Minister’s advises, Bangkok Major wanted to maintain partially the water in the inhabited areas of the city, notably in the North, so as to spare industrial zones.
Thanks to the locks’ system, the business district of this 12 million inhabitant’s megalopolis could be preserved. On the contrary, the northern area of the city is still inundated. All over Thailand, the local authorities’ response took a longer time than necessary to be put in place. Today, all authorities seem to be still overwhelmed by the extent of the catastrophe, particularly to rescue far-off villages.
For the time being, if numerous NGOs –most of them already on the field before the flood began- help as much as they can, there is no proper coordination. This obstructs the good procedure of rescuing the stricken populations.
In order to face this kind of situation, as those provoked by hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis, the Red Helmets Foundation pleads for the creation of a new humanitarian governance. Thanks to the creation of a general staff under the auspices of the UN, whose actions and policies would be relayed in regional branches, one on each continent, the whole international community could be aware of what happens and, foremost, how to help, in case of a natural disaster.
Anticipation would be the key of such an organization, which would be accompanied with the creation of “Red Helmets”, a humanitarian operational force, to coordinate the emergency responses in the aftermath of a disaster.
Climate change is responsible, every year, for environmental upheavals, more and more deadly. The number of climate refugees do not stop rising, but, as Nicole Guedj already highlighted in the 2009 Copenhagen Submit, natural disasters’ victims are never taken into account during international negotiations on sustainable development. If the Red Helmets Foundation President welcomes the project of creating a World Environment Organization, humanitarian action cannot remain the poor relation of international politics, and must too have its own world organization.