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Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, the man who warned Thailand to prepare for disaster before the 2004 Asian Tsunami devastated the Andaman Coast, has urged Phuket officials and residents to prepare for the worst in case a severe earthquake strikes.
As chief of the Thailand National Disaster Warning Centre, Dr Smith heads the agency responsible for issuing nationwide warnings for calamities of all kinds, including floods, earthquakes and tsunamis.
“If tremors are strong, we will suffer a lot of damage to life and property. We must be prepared for the worst, and in Thailand we have been experiencing more and more earthquakes,” he said.
Dr Smith warned people in areas along Phuket’s east coast to be especially aware of impending danger.
The Klong Marui fault line runs off the east coast of Phuket, and has been the epicentre of minor earthquakes earlier this year, he pointed out.
“We cannot predict earthquakes, but we can prepare for them,” Dr Smith said.
“We can educate our people, including children, the elderly and the handicapped, about such disasters, and what to do if such an event occurs, including how evacuation procedures work.”
Dr Smith urged all government departments to be ready to respond to all emergency situations.
Local municipalities should have emergency-broadcast systems in place to warn people, “Especially those exposed to danger from earthquakes along the Klong Marui fault,” he said.