In 2011 Thailand experienced one of its worst episodes of flooding. As of December 18, the flooding had affected 12.1 million people, the World Disaster Report website reported 762 deaths and 2 missing persons. Many technology pundits believe that the lack of a proper data collection system and inadequate weather forecasting are the main reasons behind this historic flooding.
Microsoft Thailand has been instrumental in supporting the flood relief by developing software to provide more information surrounding the crisis. By using the Location Based Information System (LBIS), Microsoft collaborated with a local partner, EcartStudio, to tackle the flood crisis through a general public website, http://www.thairelief.com. It displays useful flood-related information, like population, relief efforts, evacuation centers and hospitals.
Together with students from Mahidol University, Khon Kaen University and Bangkok University, Microsoft also developed two applications for flood data for Windows Phone 7 users – “Thai Flood Watch” and “Thai Dam Monitor”. Through the applications, users can request assistance, be updated about the flood, such as the water level among the major canals and dams, and obtain information such as useful emergency contact numbers. Additionally, Microsoft is also working with international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as the Thai Red Cross Society and the Mirror Foundation, to aid relief efforts. Its assistance has already benefitted more than 10,000 victims.
Microsoft employees helping at relief efforts.
Beyond supporting the Thai relief effort with IT, a team of 20 individuals, consisting of Microsoft staff, their friends, family members and partners, was formed. The team headed to one of the most impacted areas in the Nakornphatom Province to distribute flood relief bags to the affected people and families in the area. After spending about 15 hours to load 1,000 bags from the Microsoft office building onto the military trucks, the Microsoft team then drove to the affected areas. They eventually rowed the loaded kayaks for over 10 kilometers to the flood victims. This was the team’s fifth volunteer effort in two months, and they were working with the 1,500 Mile Foundation, a local NGO, to deliver the supplies. On top of this, the Microsoft team also donated cash for additional supplies. Other Microsoft volunteers have also assisted in the construction of life jackets out of water bottles for the flood victims at the Flood Relief Operations Center.
For the duration of this crisis, Microsoft Thailand will continue to provide aid to the needy and give back to the community by packing personal necessities and medicines, and participating in blood donation drives at the Red Cross organization in Thailand.
“This was an extremely well-planned effort executed by our employees and a community of partners. Their contribution to the flood effort was what made the company stand out from the rest. I continue to be in awe of our employees, who readily step up to any challenges in their way,” said Mr Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand.
“This was an extremely well-planned effort executed by our employees and a community of partners. Their contribution to the flood effort was what made the company stand out from the rest. I continue to be in awe of our employees, who readily step up to any challenges in their way.” - Mr Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand