*Quick Flood Blog no. 3*
Observation from my locality.
The water begins to recede and the city surfaces again.
I’ve experienced only a week in total, of what has been months of trauma for many families. Great barriers of sandbags, still holding as I write, stand as battlements from which the flood’s frontline is being fought, keeping out the worst of the flood from the inner city.
Instead the deluge snaked through the already flooded northern and western sectors of Bangkok, as unfortunate residents on the wrong side of the barriers watch their homes succumb to a metre or more of overflow, reluctant hosts unable to benefit from Bangkok’s extensive canal system, moderately effective in channelling water away from the city through to the Gulf of Thailand only 35km away to the south.
The affected residents fought back, frustrated with the prolonged inaction from the FROC (Flood Relief Operations Command – it’s been two months now). They went as far as breaking down the main sandbag barriers, demanding an immediate action plan to relieve the crisis, gaining concessions in the process – a review of the timeline that keeps their homes underwater.
Originally built as defence for the new capital of Bangkok on the Chao Phraya river (on Rattanakosin Island) after the sacking of Ayuthaya by the Burmese in 1767, the canals (khlongs) virtually encircle Bangkok. Nowadays they provide boat transport around the city but are currently closed due to the flood crisis.
Flood defences in the city have been extensive, mostly cement walls with delicate, loose brick staircases and the ubiquitous sandbag. Even luxury department stores surround their perimeter with sandbags covered in blue PVC tarpaulins which almost look as exclusive as the products sold inside. As you read in previous blogs, artists decorated the cement walls with cartoon characters, children play on sandbags and swim in park overflow pools.
My locality remained mostly dry but not unaffected. I remember well, watching people frantically buying wellington boots, queueing at supermarkets with bumper boxes of instant noodles, bottled water and what was left of the fresh fruit and vegetables.
The plight of pets or street animals has also been of concern to Thais. So much so that I recently saw an illustration of how to make a life jacket for the dog! (see below). Earlier, it was reported that pets would not be allowed to accompany their owners when rescued from their flooded homes. I don’t think many people would be happy with that?
An alleyway near Khao San Road has turned into a nursery for abandoned dogs and from what I can learn from my Thai friends the dogs will be re-homed if possible.
Over the last week, I’ve seen ‘tinnies’ (Aussie lingo for small metal boat) and dinghies equipped with outboard motors and a long pole (for pulling people out of the water) in the car parks of monasteries, sports centres, gas stations and government buildings. Life jackets are for sale in many suburbs.
Following are additional images from the last month taken in my locality on the Chao Phraya river.
See related blogs:
Bangkok’s rising tide: This week in my locality: https://warrenfield.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/2114/
Bangkok’s rising tide, fading hopes: https://warrenfield.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/bangkoks-rising-tide-fading-hopes/
© Warren Field 2011
Images taken on Olympus E-system, 4/3 SLR (E3).