Chulalongkorn University and the Mitigation of the Great Floods in Bangkok and Its Vicinity
When the country faced one of the worst floods in Thai history from October to November 2011, Chulalongkorn University came up with measures to help its personnel and students and people in general in Bangkok and the vicinity.
Students who were affected by the floods were provided with financial assistance in the form of scholarships, registration postponement and temporary housing. Short-term and long-term assistance was provided for personnel in the form of emergency loans from the Co-Op Bank, temporary housing and parking spaces and special leave of absence was granted to those who were not able to come to work on a regular basis. Long-term assistance was in the form of University loans for housing renovation and other kinds of spending after the floods.
In offering social relief services, Chulalongkorn University organized 4 main projects and activities as follows:
- 1. Distributing survival bags.
- 2. Coordinating with the Phuen Pheung Pha (Bha) Yam Yak Foundation in establishing a kitchen to cook food for the distribution of at least 12,000 sets of food to flood victims in different communities.
- 3. Serving as a refuge centre for people.
- 4. Devising new schemes to help society; a number of University personnel joined the Working Group for Solving the Problems Caused by the Great Floods.
Chulalongkorn University undertook the operational process in solving problems in a full-cycle manner and the activities undertaken were to be divided into 3 periods as follows:
The 1st Phase: Preparation Before the Flood
- Faculty members who were specialists in floods were gathered to produce academic documents relating to concepts of sustainable flood prevention and solutions,
- Establishing an Ad Hoc Disaster Management Centre to serve as an integral managing centre,
- Appointing a Coordinating Committee for the Assistance of Flood Victims to set up a policy and plans to help, coordinate and assess the results of the daily activities. This Committee held a meeting every day, even on public holidays,
- Appointing a host to be responsible for every activity,
- Preparing to communicate with the public during the flood crisis by appointing a Communication Working Group in Time of Crisis in order to ensure a uniformity of communication.
The 2nd Phase: Management During the Time of Floods
- Collecting information from Chulalongkorn University academics and volunteers who had been working in flooded areas, as well as secondary information from the government and private sector,
- Analyzing the information collected from different sources,
- Specifying 10 major problems caused by the Great Floods and the University’s potential to help solve all these 10 problems as follows:
- 1. Problems caused by a shortage of food,
- 2. Problems caused by a shortage of shelters,
- 3. The shortage of consumables,
- 4. Problems related to pets,
- 5. Problems relating to a the shortage of animals that yield economic profit,
- 6. Public health problems,
- 7. Problems related to safety,
- 8. Problems related to transportation during the time of floods,
- 9. Problems caused by a lack of reliable information,
- 10. Providing relief services to flood victims.
The 3rd Phase: Post-Flood Restoration and Sustainable Flood Solutions
- Building a 1.6 kilometre wooden bridge at the exit of the Don Mueang Toll Way to enable flood victims to access different housing projects,
- Publishing the Restoration after the Floods Manual, a common domestic version to be distributed to flood victims,
- Selecting a few flooded areas representative of those in Bangkok and in the provinces to be handled by knowledgeable Chulalongkorn personnel in terms of the environment, city/town planning, maps, public health, education, social issues, occupational revival, pets and animals that yield economic profit, precautionary planning, warning and evacuation.
- Gathering academics to expand their knowledge to provide academic materials about sustainable flood solutions to be further submitted to relevant people.