Record floods inch closer to Bangkok

Publié: 28 octobre 2011 16:05 CET

Matthew Cochrane

Communities across Bangkok are bracing for the arrival of flood waters, with more than a billion cubic metres of water set to flow through or close to the city over the coming days and weeks starting this weekend.
However, as the world focuses on Bangkok, more than a third of the country continues to be affected by flood waters. In Nonthaburi Province, just to the north of Bangkok, communities have been exposed to the worst of these floods for more than a month.

Prueksa Village 33 is only 40 kilometres from Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province. However, at the moment, it takes a convoy of Thai Red Cross relief truck more than three hours to reach it, navigating through water that can rise to more than one and a half metres.

“It’s very difficult for people to live here,” says Kanungjit Chantaratin who works with the Thai Red Cross’ relief bureau. “They are very isolated – only trucks and some four-wheel drives can reach here”

The truck is met at the side of the road by three small boats. One hundred family kits are unloaded and handed over to representatives of local village committees.

“We are cut off here,” says Ms Hathairat Kongdun, a representative of one of the villages. “we can’t easily leave this area and we have to wait for assistance from the Red Cross.”

Most residents here have left to live in evacuation centres or with families in other parts of the country. But Ms Kongun explains why she and her family haven’t left.

“We have to live here. We are worried about our property and our homes. We don’t want to be robbed.”

Ms Chantaratin from the Thai Red Cross says that people who chose to stay in flooded villages are particularly vulnerable. “Their biggest challenge is that theylack food and drinking water. And I think that these communities here will be flooded for at least another two weeks and maybe more.”

So far, Thai Red Cross has distributed more than 140,000 family kits aong with more than 1.5 million bottles of drinking water. Red Cross boats have also helped communities to evacuate across the country and Red Cross health teams have been able to reach isolated communities and provide much needed medical assistance.