First step towards Thailand and ASEAN Inclusive Disaster Management

Military personnel standing at opening ceremony
Participants from the Royal Thai Armed Forces, Royal Thai Navy, and Royal Thai Air Force and others being addressed by the Commanding Unit Director.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces hosted a Thailand-Cambodia Joint and Combined Exercise on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in Cha-am, 21 – 24 August 2012 with participation from Thai citizens with disabilities.

No one should be left behind

Partipants are sitting around the table and have discussion ©CBM
Mr. Chaiyapon Bhuparat, Director of the Council of Persons with Disabilities Thailand giving feedback to the Commanding Unit
Following CBM’s suggestion to make disaster management exercises inclusive of persons with disabilities, the Royal Thai Armed Forces invited government bodies, private sector, civilians, including the Council of Persons with Disabilities Thailand, to join the Thailand-Cambodia Joint and Combined Exercise on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. The exercise had the purpose of identifying areas for improvement and to enhance coordination between several stakeholders in Thailand, and strengthen relationship between Thailand and Cambodia.

Nine representatives with disabilities from the Council of Persons with Disabilities Thailand inspired the training participants to move their practices to inclusive disaster management. One representative worked as a liaison officer to support the Commanding Post Unit; the others were acting with other civilians as disaster victims in storm surges, tsunamis, landslides, and collapsed buildings.

Voices from the field

The patient lie down and receiving first aid treatment ©CBM
Mr. Boonchoo, a volunteer with disability (who has an artificial limb) receiving first aid treatment from field hospital staff
Mr. Suksan, a wheelchair user, says “I joined this training because I want to learn how to survive and also to teach those who want to help me but do not know how. I can’t move. I don’t want to be left behind and die.”

Like many others, Colonel Sungkom Piemwiriyawong, Deputy Director, Joint and Combined Exercise Division Joint and Combined Exercise Planning Office (J-7), Directorate of Joint Operations, Royal Thai Armed Forces, says that this makes us start to think about inclusion.

The Council of Persons with Disability Thailand also requested to be a part of planning in future exercises with the Republic of Korea and more countries in 2013.

Read more about CBM Inclusive Emergency Response

Inclusive Emergency Response Unit (ERU)

CBM working with local partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of disaster preparedness and response



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