Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bangkok prepares for flooding

Park on the Chao Phraya Riverfront
Nut and I returned to Bangkok a  few days ago to prepare our place for possible high water. It hasn't happened yet. Although the water has not yet reached its crest, government talking heads assure us that they can take care of it. Others are not so sure.

The flood crest might reach 2 meters higher than the current level of the river. There is not 2 meters of seawall available to contain that much water. Nevertheless, life goes on and it's been pretty much business as usual.
The rain swollen Chao Phraya River with the Rama VIII bridge in the background
As the pundits argue about how, when, or if central Bangkok will flood several northern suburbs are already having problems with bursting levees and high water. About 100 crocodiles escaped from a zoo and have many citizens scared to venture out into the water. Some experts have said these crocs are "not fierce". Gee, that's encouraging. Then there's the fact that Thailand is home to many species of snakes, some poisonous, and some that live in water. More food for thought as the water levels rise.

Some Bangkok shop owners in my neighborhood have taken matters into their own hands and have built walls in front of their doorways.

The fact that these are public sidewalks doesn't deter them one bit. The police are something of a joke as they seldom do anything much in the way of law enforcement. They are simply not a factor in this sort of thing.

Here is a link to a more complete blog with some great pictures and commentary. It's the latest entry in a blog called Women Learning Thai, and some men too. In it Cat details the lack of bottled drinking water in the stores and other shortcomings of the "disaster relief plan" for the Thai capitol. People are predictably hoarding certain commodities like rice and apparently water.

For now we're all safe and dry. I would like to leave before the situation deteriorates but Nut insists that I go on back to Udon ahead of her. She wants to stay and protect our place. I think it could get very tough here without electricity or drinkable water. We buy  our water from one of several coin-op electric deionizers in our neighborhood. Needless to say these won't be working if the electricity goes out. I worry about leaving her but she has family scattered here and there and isn't concerned about getting stuck in the city.

In the papers this morning we read the Thai military wants to declare a State of Emergency for Bangkok. What that might mean for our travel plans is anybody's guess.

Oh, and this tidbit. In an effort to move water out of the rivers and into the ocean more quickly, the Thai government has commissioned whole fleets of boats to help "pump" the water out of several rivers. The idea is this: the boats are tied to a dock facing upstream, the engine is fired up and the propellers engaged to run at speed. Seeing as the boats cannot move the props push the water downstream. How much difference can this make? Good question.

I posted a link to a video of this on my Facebook page. Check it out if you like by going to me page or you can try this link: Bangkok boat pumping water out to sea.

Homeless people behind sandbags under the Pinklao Bridge