by Zhixiao Ma, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Applied Ecology
On Monday, the first day of the 2013 Young Researchers’ School, Dr. Sutat Weesakul gave us a lecture about disaster management related to floods. He is the Director of Research Project at Water Engineering and Management Program, School of Engineering and Technology, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). In the lecture, first, he introduced the definition of “risk”. Risk=Hazard*Consequence. For “Hazard”, it means flood depth, duration, and velocity. For “Consequence”, it means vulnerability (Social, economic, and environmental). During the lecture, Dr. Sutat used vivid videos and pictures to show us how we should prepare, before, during, and after the flood. Before flood, we should monitor weather, check flood news, and prepare boat, food, materials for flooding fighting. During the flood, if people want to fight, they should stay with the family and fight together, evaluating the situation of where to go, for how long, how to move old and sick people. After the flood, we must recover our economy, environment, and society such as industrial sectors, community, agriculture and so on. The most important thing I learned in this lecture is that we should smile in the face of disaster. In other words, individuals should keep the strength and resilience in front of the disaster, even though the recovering process is long and stressful. Thailand undergoes a variety of natural disasters from extreme cold, bush fire, drought, windstorm, landslide, and flood throughout the year. As we cannot change the temper of Mother Nature, we have to smile at her and fight.