I’m going to put an immediate disclaimer on this blog post: Not only is my house and place of work in Nichada Thani completely dry and safe (as of Monday, October 24) but I have not been in the country since last Friday. If you want to read up to date information on the flooding in Bangkok I suggest you read twitter posts under #ThaiFloodEng or #bkkflood, check out Flood Connect on Facebook, in terms of press The Nation Multimedia seems less alarmist than the Bangkok Post and I have been using the former for most of my personal updates. This blog post is merely for the sake of archiving the precautions taken by our housing complex and school to keep us safe and for sharing with my family what my daily life looked life before school shut down.
You may or may have noticed that there’s not a drop of water in or around Nichada Thani which is still, reportedly, the case. We are very lucky as the rest of Nonthaburi is flooded as you can see in the WSJ slide show here. As you might have read in my post over a month ago in Sukhothai, the floods were already hitting up north and have been a problem for Thai people in northern Thailand for weeks now. A combination of an exceptionally wet rainy season and higher than normal “spring tides” are causing rainwater to have absolutely no where to drain but in people’s homes and businesses.
School shut down two days early for our October holiday on account of our bus company not being able to cover all of its routes due to flooding. Our campus has been shut down to the community through this Wednesday while Thai government schools are closed till November 7. Soon after we shut down I moved my already purchased flight to Chengdu up a day and will be here until school reopens (which is currently on October 31). This week Bangkok is bracing for the inevitable surge of waters that have, in weeks prior, been held in the northern outskirts and diverted eastern suburbs for as long as possible. It looks like the government can’t divert nature and this week a surge of waters will have to be released into the Chao Praya river and Bangkok’s many canals. We may be closed for a while longer.
Flood Map as of October 1 (Image Source Here)
It’s amazing in this age of inundated (not a funny flood pun, I know), easily updated social media how easy it is to be misinformed in times of natural disaster. While my well-being has been generally unaffected by the floods thus far rumors of knee-deep water or blocked roads have caused a paranoia and stress that is overwhelming and sometimes unnecessary. It has been hard to discern what is fact and what is simply fear and I’m very thankful that school had a scheduled holiday during this week allowing faculty and staff to get out of town and away from it all.
Here’s a little glimpse of our trip out of Chaeng Wattana into downtown Bangkok, people in flooded areas had parked their cars on the highway to protect them from being submerged:
The flooding is not going away and it looks like the problem must get worse before it gets better. The question is, is it too late for the government to further control the flow of flood waters and minimize damage to the financial and political hub of the country? The problems in action are many as the Thai government seems to be slow to act even though warnings of flood in the capital city have been imminent for a while. Not helping their case either government officials recently refused help of the US Navy, controversy over who is spared from the water and who is not, and the newly elected prime minister is constantly being criticized for her choices, politically and fashion-ally.
There’s not a whole lot of hope for the city to remain dry in the coming days. Hopefully this will only mean mere centimeters of water rather than the meters that many fear. Regardless it will be an interesting clean up process, one that I hope the land of smiles can ultimately recover from.