My wife and I spent a week in Pathum Thani at the north edge of Bangkok and directly in the path of flood waters coming from the north. We wanted to move important things to the second floor and get our little house as ready as we could. I really believed we wouldn’t have problem because of the location we live in the town of Klong Luang, which translated to Government Canals.
There are a series of 15 or more klongs, canals, 1 kilometer apart and very long. For years they have controlled the water level in the area against flooding and supply water during the dry season for the area rice fields. There is still a lot of rice grown here but homes and industry are moving in as well.
North of us some villagers tore down a dike wall in hopes of gaining some relief from the floods. What they did was allow the waters to decimate a hi-tech industrial area taking many jobs away from other Thai people and their situation did not change. It also sent water into our area. Each day we listened to the sirens and loudspeakers telling us to prepare sandbags and be ready to leave.
Parts of our town are underwater now and it’s so sad to see the people suffering and there is really no way to help except to give food and supplies. One area, Thalad Tai, is a major distribution market for produce farmers to bring their products into the city. We went through the market and water was up to the floorboards of my truck but people still came because they need to get the produce to small shops.
We had two days of sunshine and it was so nice to feel the heat and brightness of the sun, but the water kept rising. Out street seemed to be safe at that time. Most of the flooding was closer to the main north-south highway. It often floods in that area and the people are used to a few days of water, but the waters came in and covered areas that never saw flooding and the water is still rising.
The stress was getting to my wife- and me- so I decided we would go back to our farm in Pak Chong. Long stretches of main roads were closed so we had to take an alternate route. One we use often just of the scenery was like traveling across a vast lake with houses out in the middle. Trucks and busses packed the road because all other routes north are blocked.
We continued on to Khow Yai to cross over the mountains. Khow Yai is a national park that I have written about before. The attendant let us pass through without paying the normal fee. That was a first for me—they remembered us. The road up the mountain was like driving through a living tunnel of greenery. Lush giant ferns, Teak trees and vines made it a beautiful trip. Clouds encompassed the mountains making the feel of being in a tunnel even more dramatic. We saw only a few cars and a few animals for our 60 kilometer trip across the mountains.
We arrived at the farm and found everything in order. There was such a great relief not to hear the loudspeakers and to see all the worried people rushing about. The water is still rising and the government has opened a number of large shelters for all the people affected by this disaster.
Now we hear that the highest waters will reach Bangkok within the next few days. The government has directed over 1000 large boats near the mouth of the main river to run their engines in an effort to speed the water into the gulf.
The really terrible news is this isn’t only a problem in Thailand but all of Southeast Asia is being effected. Several countries won’t allow much information to come out but the people are suffering terribly.
I hope you will add this entire area to your prayers and good thoughts. The Thai’s have lost their smiles in many parts of the country but I know they will return.
One positive note: All the political bickering has been put aside and everyone is pulling together. That is refreshing!