Lecture 11: Disaster Management III

by Meimei Zhou, Tongji University

The lecture presented by Dr. Tanit Chalermyanont, professor at Prince of Songkla University, provided a really excellent insight about  flood management in Hat Yai. Firstly, Dr. Tanit introduced the background of Hat Yai flooding (including the characteristics of U-Tapao watershed and history of floods in Hat Yai), the flood warning system and how the system works. He also presented about flood measures, especially giving an example of the Hat Yai model of unit hydrograph and flood prediction and the implementation of Hat Yai flooding warning system. We could learn that the natural factors such as location and climate determine the flooding risk in Hat Yai, and human activities like building infrastructures have a certain influence on the sensitivity of Hat Yai to flooding. However, influence factors such as urbanization and change of land use is an inexorable trend in Hat Yai even in Thailand, so in order to minimize the loss caused by flooding, effective measures are necessary in Hat Yai. The most effective measures could be the flood prediction models such as flooding warning system. So if the flooding warning system in Hat Yai and other flood prediction models can be implemented, there are no doubts that the losses will be reduced significantly. But the implementation of these measures requires the cooperation of government and related committee. For example, after the Songkla Provincial Flood Watch Committee forecasts the flood warning levels, the duty of the government is to issue the warning to the citizens. Certainly, a trust relationship between the government and citizens should have been developed for citizens to respond swiftly and effectively. In fact, in my opinion, I think that the related committees should cooperate with the government, strengthening mutual cooperation. As we learned from the lecture, the sensitivity of Hat Yai to flood is influenced by both natural and human factors such as newly built infrastructures, which can be improved by measures developed by humans. For example, the design of new structures can take drainage capacity into account with the mutual cooperation of related committees. In conclusion, flood or other disaster managements need concerted efforts of the parties concerned.