Bangkok: Worst Flooding Since 1942 ("Most Critical Natural Disaster in Thai History")

bangkok floods

bangkok flooding

We’ve written about Thailand’s flooding a few times now. Over a week ago, Michael wrote that 10% of the country’s rice crop had already been destroyed (and Thailand is the world’s leading rice exporter). The cost to the nation was already about $4 billion.

Now, the flood waters are taking over the nation’s largest city and capital, Bangkok. The country is facing its worst floods since 1942. And Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has said: “The crisis we’re facing today is the most critical natural disaster that ever happened in Thai history.”

thailand flooding from sky

thailand flooding crisis

thailand flooding disaster

The country is struggling to deal with the effects, and to avert even worse disaster. Think New Orleans, but on a much, much worse scale per capita (and per GDP).

This is an effect of climate change. While everyone will tell you that it can’t be linked, statistically, there is really no doubt about it in my mind. Climate scientists have been predicting for decades now that we would be seeing stronger floods and stronger droughts. We saw record-breaking droughts and heat in Texas and other parts of the U.S. this year (causing tremendous crop losses in the U.S.), and we are seeing record-breaking floods on the other side of the world. This is exactly what has been predicted. But, of course, you can keep your head in the sand…

Here’s more on the effects of the flooding, so far, from Bloomberg Business Week:

Uncertainty over the severity of flooding has fueled panic in the capital, leading to shortages of bottled water, eggs and baby formula as the worst floods in more than half a century reach Bangkok. Dikes north of the city are holding back a three- meter-deep wall of water that has inundated about 10,000 factories, disrupting the supply chains of companies including Honda Motor Co. and Western Digital Corp.

Thailand’s central bank today cut its forecast for economic growth this year as the floods take a toll on manufacturing and tourism. Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy may grow 2.6 percent in 2011, down from an earlier forecast of 4.1 percent, and 4.1 percent next year, the Bank of Thailand said today.

thailand flooding damage

There is no indication yet how much of Bangkok will be flooded. The business district is still dry, but the Grand Palace has been surrounded by water. The government may soon evacuate some areas of the city. The Don Mueang Airport was also closed yesterday when flood waters crept onto its runway.

So far, at least 377 people have been killed by the flooding (since it started in July).

Rainfall about 25 percent more than the 30-year average filled upstream dams to capacity, prompting authorities to release large amounts of water earlier this month down a flood plain the size of Florida, with Bangkok at its bottom tip. Authorities are aiming to drain the water around the city and through its 1,682 canals.

Residents in northern Bangkok caught fish in their homes and ate noodles with their feet resting in ankle-deep floodwaters, television images showed. In some areas, they showed residents capturing escaped crocodiles.

Not where I’d like to be, but my thoughts are with the people of Thailand….

Photo Credits:
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AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Philip Roeland
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Attribution Some rights reserved by DVIDSHUB
AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Philip Roeland

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