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Thailand waits for the floods to recede

For the past week, the weather has been mostly clear across Thailand, but many areas are waiting for the flood waters to recede.

Large swathes of land are still inundated, though the central area of Bangkok was kept safe by a network of dikes and walls of sandbags, despite the threat of high tides at the weekend. But large volumes of water remain to the north, east and west of the city. And residents of some suburbs are becoming angry that sluice gates are not being opened to allow the water to escape as the authorities try to ensure the central part of the city remains dry.

Since the heavy monsoon rains began in July, over 420 people have lost their lives. A quarter of the country’s rice crop has also been affected, putting increased pressure on food prices. The Thai economy has taken a huge hit and many companies are waiting for their factories to be pumped out. Some are now concerned that investors may think twice about building facilities in Thailand, particularly as climate change is likely to cause more frequent extreme weather.

However, it has been suggested that actions can be taken to reduce risks in the future. For example, state agencies need to look at how they can improve cooperation. The role of the country’s dams is also likely to be examined. Some experts have said those in charge of dams across uplands in the north were too slow to react. Instead of releasing water gradually as it built up during the heavy rains, they waited until the dams were at capacity and the level of water released was then huge. Some industrial estates have also been built on flood plains, whereas a newer industrial area southeast of Bangkok escaped the flooding because it was not situated within a river basin.

Many of Bangkok’s citizens will certainly be looking for answers about how the risk of flooding can be reduced in the future, especially those living in areas where the water was channelled in order to save the centre of the capital. Residents of flooded areas continue to leave the city, since it looks likely it will take some time for the waters to recede.

SOS Children in Thailand

Due to the flood risk, children below the age of twelve and girls were evacuated from the SOS Children’s Village in Bangpoo, along with their SOS mothers. They were taken to another home in the province of Chonburi, a two-hour drive from Bangkok. Older boys and some staff stayed in order to look after the buildings and property and help neighbours. So far, the Bangpoo village has not been affected by flooding. And if the weather situation continues to remain stable, it is hoped the 100 people evacuated from Bangpoo will soon be able to return home.

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