Chiangrai Times – The Australian Government is supporting Thailand’s efforts to respond to future natural disasters, through the donation of two dedicated emergency vehicles to the Thai Red Cross.
The Australian Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise, handed over the trucks to the Thai Red Cross this morning, as part of a $500,000 (Bt 15 million) funding commitment in response to the devastating 2011 floods in Thailand. The new trucks will be used during future relief operations to distribute emergency items such as food, water and shelter to affected communities.
“As a firm friend of Thailand, and in this 60th year of bilateral Australia-Thailand relations, the Australian Government is pleased to support efforts in disaster response and preparedness. The Red Cross has a special auxiliary role alongside national governments to assist communities in times of crisis and recovery. These trucks will build the long-term capacity of the Thai Red Cross to deliver services to the Thai people,” Ambassador Wise said.
Australia recognizes that investing in disaster preparedness and risk reduction not only saves lives and livelihoods; it reduces costs involved in responding to disasters, supports resilience, and helps safeguard countries’ critical infrastructure. Under its Humanitarian Action Policy, the Australian Government remains committed to supporting partner governments and local organizations to prepare and respond to disasters.
Last year, more than 3.4 million people were affected by Thailand’s worst flooding in more than five decades. The Thai Red Cross provided critical assistance to communities across Thailand, some of whom were isolated for long periods.
The $500,000 (Bt 15 million) funding for the Thai Red Cross was made available through the Australian Red Cross. In addition, the Australian Government provided $500,000 (Bt 15 million) to Save the Children for flood relief operations; $50,000 (Bt 1.5 million) to the World Food Program for sand bags used by the Royal Thai Army; and over $30,000 (Bt 930,000) to the International Labor Organization to address specific needs of migrant workers affected by the floods in five provinces.
The Australia Government’s aid expenditure on disaster preparedness and risk reduction has grown considerably in recent years. Australia remains committed to helping partner countries reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters. For more information on Australia’s aid program, please visit: www.ausaid.gov.au