Thailand’s response to Bengkulu was far superior to that of others. However, an excellent editorial in the Bangkok Post points out how they could do even better. The para below fits perfectly with our interest in developing a fast, reliable system for informing the media. Maybe I should send the letter we sent to the Sri Lanka DMC to Smith Dharmasarojana.
As a first step, the Centre must immediately set up and use channels to all media within Thailand, domestic and foreign. Most of the chaos last week could have been averted if senior officials had immediately explained to the media what they explained to the prime minister and 2,799 other responsible government and security officers. There is no reason, nor any excuse for the Centre to withhold any relevant information it possesses. Faced with a choice between releasing information to the public or waiting for careful analysis, the Centre should do the opposite of what it did last week. Information should be released quickly, and corrected immediately when necessary. As demonstrated once again, lack of official and reliable information feeds rumours and causes panic. Disaster officials must adjust to this reality. Residents of the South, in particular, have learned of the tragedy that can strike in seconds. Timely, credible information can prevent panic, and save lives.
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