UNESCO Launches App for Flood Awareness

August 4, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. electrocution /ɪˌlektrəˈkjuːʃ(ə)n/ (n.) – dying or killing because of electric shock
Example: Using appliances that were submerged in water caused the electrocution.

2. virtual /ˈvɜr tʃu əl/ (adj.) – referring to anything that exists only in computers and not in real life
Example: Tamagotchi, a virtual pet, used to be a very famous game.

3. contend with  /kənˈtɛnd wɪð/ (v.) – to face difficulties in order to achieve something.
Example: The government had to contend with lack of good facilities during the earthquake.

4. fatality /feɪˈtæl ɪ ti, fə-/ (n.) – accidental death caused by disease, war, or a disaster
Example: Typhoon fatalities are increasing each year.

5. monsoon /mɒnˈsun/ (n.) – a wind that brings heavy rains
Example: We suddenly experienced cold weather because of the monsoon.


Read the text below.
UNESCO has recently launched a new mobile application called Flood Fighter in Bangkok to help avoid deaths caused by floods.

This free educational app was created to promote flood preparedness among children in Southeast Asia. It enables users to learn survival skills, such as stocking essential items, placing important belongings in an elevated area, avoiding electrocution, and dodging crocodile attacks.

Sai Fah, the virtual character in the game, is from the Ayutthaya [ah-YOO-tah-yah] province, one of the worst-hit areas during a severe flooding in Thailand in 2011. His mission is to contend with 22 challenging tasks before, during, and after the flood.

Children seem to have already grasped the important lessons taught in the game. A 17-year-old student named Kitkanok Klungnumkoo said that he learned from the game just how important it is to prepare drinking water beforehand. Pornnamphet Sainet [porn-nam-fet SAY-net], 10 years old, commented that he will cut the electrical circuit when there is flood.

This app is no substitute to learning how to swim or wearing a life jacket. However, the app still promotes awareness, which is necessary in ensuring one’s survival. In 2011, a devastating flood hit Thailand and caused 800 fatalities, including dozens of children.

On another note, an English version of the game has been released in other Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Philippines. These countries frequently experience monsoon rains that cause floods.

Just weeks after the launch of Sai Fah, the app has already dominated the educational charts with 22,000 downloads.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What else could the Thai government do to prevent deaths during typhoon?
·         Would you be willing to try this app? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How can one prepare for typhoons or other calamities?
·         What does your government do when there is a strong typhoon that is expected to hit your country?

August 4, 2014