5 November 2011


The now fetid floodwaters of Greater Bangkok are creeping closer to the city's very heart. Over 450 people have already died in modern Thailand's worst ever inundation. I have been following developments closely through the website of "The Bangkok Post" - the squabbling of politicians, their false promises, the hopeless planning for disaster and the inexorable progress of the water, polluted with stinking sewage and debris claiming new neighbourhoods every day. Who knows when the water will leave? Perhaps weeks from now.

The school where I taught is closed for the time being and most ex-pat members of staff have fled the city, staying in distant coastal hotels. Poor Mr Jonathan came off a rented motorbike and broke his collarbone when he should have been teaching adverbs. One of the city's airports is awash and so is the magnificent Grand Palace complex.

This morning I saw a photograph of some familiar territory - Phahon Yothin Road, taken from the pedestrian walkway near Union Mall. To the right you can make out the Tesco Lotus store where I often walked to buy provisions, passing the Elephant Building which you can see in the right rear of the photo. Although the floodwater isn't terribly deep here, it is getting deeper all the time. In many northern neighbourhoods the water is six feet deep.

People are resilient and two or three days of flooding would be easy enough to bear but some towns and villages in Thailand have already been flooded for weeks. Everything is disrupted - work, education, clean water supplies, transport, electricity, the sewage system. Bangkok is hurting so bad and when these waters finally recede the country will be faced with enormous challenges if it is to steady itself. Undoubtedly, the death toll will grow and more squabbling between self-interested politicians will happen.


  1. A terrible situation, YP and the longer it continues, the more the population will be affected by disease, of course.

  2. When things like this happen anywhere, Mr. Pudding, I always wonder and worry about the babies that are being born and the mothers that are birthing them. How will they survive in these conditions. And yet, some or all inevitably do. The resilience of tiny humans is amazing!

  3. JENNY In many ways Bangkok seemed such a bustling modern city with high rises, taxis, a Sky Train, thriving factories but I agree you can't have so much horrible stagnant water hanging about in tropical heat without significant health issues arising.
    MOUNTAIN THYME I hadn't thought of that but you're right. Even in war, revolution, famine and strife, babies are born and the majority make it through.


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