Today the United States announced more than $10 million in additional assistance and civic aid to support Thailand in responding to the most severe flooding in the country’s recent history. The Thai Government, military and people have undertaken tremendous efforts to address the flooding, and the United States is committed to supporting our ally’s speedy and full recovery.
The United States will provide coordinated support to our Thai civilian and military partners in efforts to re-open Don Muang Airport – a dual domestic and military hub – to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance. The USS Lassen is in port in Thailand with crew and helicopter assets to assist in the relief and recovery efforts. We will increase local civilian emergency response and disaster preparation capacity by providing funding for water pumps for flood recovery, training and equipping first responders, supporting health recovery efforts, and expanding flood early warning systems. We will train police and other first responders in disaster response and provide equipment like generators, survival kits, and life vests.
The United States is consulting with the Thai Government on how we can best assist in restoring important cultural sites, including the ancient capital and World Heritage Site at Ayutthaya, which have been damaged by the floods. We will involve U.S. experts to conduct damage assessments and work with Thai organizations to enlist support from the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.
This assistance supplements what the United States provided in October when the flooding reached a critical stage. At that time, we provided boats, marine engines, and life vests to the Thai police for their enforcement efforts in a disaster environment, assisting flood victims and securing property and flood barriers. In addition to $1.1 million in direct humanitarian assistance, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided technical support to the Thai Government’s Flood Response Operations Center. USAID and U.S. military humanitarian assessment survey teams, including the U.S. Marine Corps HAST out of Okinawa, conducted numerous assessments of flood-affected areas. The USS Mustin conducted 69 helicopter survey missions with the Thai military, worked with local communities, and donated blood and relief funds. The United States Pacific Command also provided up-to-date satellite imagery of the stricken areas to assist in flood predictions and mitigation operations by the Thai military and civilian authorities.
The employees of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok worked to help flood victims even as some of their own homes were flooded. American and Thai staff members packed and delivered food, donated blood, and gathered supplies. Many in the embassy community also opened up their homes for colleagues displaced by the flooding. Sailors from the USS Mustin donated personal funds to the flood effort.