The British Ambassador to Thailand, Asif Ahmad, has criticized the Thai government for its handling of last year’s devastating floods.
The Thai government’s management of the floods was not only abysmal he intimated, but that they even refused help from foreign governments in the midst of some of the planet’s worst ever floods was ridiculous.
In an interview, Ambassador Ahmad said the Thai government’s refusal to accept foreign aid during the floods was “self-defeating”, as it prevented so many foreign governments opening up their disaster relief programs, which are contingent on government’s asking for help or help can’t be given.
That Thailand not only didn’t ask for help but actively refused it, meant it didn’t get disaster relief that even developed countries like Japan and Australia managed to get when they had horrendous disasters. Then again, Japan and Australia asked for help.
Ambassador Ahmad also criticized the communication from the Thai government about the floods (actually it’s more like the “lack of communication”).
Unlike in a developed country, where one agency would be responsible for communicating about what was happening in a natural disaster, in Thailand anyone with an opinion could speak, so communication with lots of differing information many times a day came from all and sundry.
One government agency would say “floods won’t hit Bangkok”, while another would say “You’ll be under water tomorrow”. Nobody knew what was going on and nobody seemed to care enough to find and disseminate accurate information.
But, whether Ambassador Asif Ahmad has spoken out about the Thai government mismanagement of the floods or not hardly makes a difference.
It is nothing more than a momentary embarrassment to the Thai government. If the same flood situation happens this year, however, will they have learned their lesson?
In all honesty, probably not. After all, there are many reasons why Thailand is years behind much of the rest of south east Asia in its development, and this need to refuse help when help is needed is just one of them.
So thank you Ambassador Asif Ahmad for saying what you did. Unfortunately, however, you are probably wasting your breath.