CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

Print Print Email Email Share Share Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close

loading...

Bangkok to Be Hit by Second Wave of Flooding

by Joshua Kurlantzick
October 24, 2011

An elderly flood victim sits outside an evacuation centre at an unused airport terminal at Dan Mueang Airport in Bangkok October 24, 2011.

An elderly flood victim sits outside an evacuation centre at an unused airport terminal at Dan Mueang Airport in Bangkok October 24, 2011. (Bazuki Muhammad/Courtesy Reuters)

Although the Thai capital was mostly spared from the first inundation of flooding that swept through the country last week, meteorologists are predicting a new storm system will potentially ravage Bangkok this week. In an article in Voice of America, Bangkok’s governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, one of the most respected politicians in the country, says that the new wave of water will come this week. This time, the central areas and most populous regions of the capital’s suburbs could well be hit.

What is shocking about the flooding is not only the sheer scale, but also that the central government has had a relatively long time to prepare for it – and now as another week to prepare – and yet seems so disorganized, thus causing panic among many Bangkok residents. As I wrote earlier in the week, the first potential wave of flooding seemed to catch the national government unaware, even though there were many signs it was coming and it hit northern parts of Thailand first. The prime minister seemed totally overwhelmed by having to deal with the disaster, only adding to people’s anger and panic. A new poll of Bangkokians, referenced on Bangkok Pundit, shows that on average they gave the government’s flood response center a horrible score of roughly three out of ten for effectiveness.  Anecdotal opinion from Bangkokians I have spoken to is even worse; I doubt any of them would give the center more than a rating of one. Most had no idea what the center was doing, and had had no contact from government officials in terms of organizing evacuation or relief – even though, as I noted, this is now the second week of potential flooding, and the government has had weeks to prepare the city.

Although former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had many flaws, he was decisive in handling crises and often instilled confidence in people with his decisive measures. In fact, sometimes he was actually too decisive. Many Thais worried that his sister, the new prime minister, was not prepared for the job, having virtually no political experience. Her response to the flood crisis is hardly disabusing those concerns.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by Bill

    It is not a new storm system which threatens Bangkok but further existing floodwaters traveling to Bangkok. The rain has already fallen. Some more accurate reporting would help to ensure Bangkok residents don’t panic. Is it all that hard?

  • Posted by Dan

    “What is shocking about the flooding is not only the sheer scale, but also that the central government has had a relatively long time to prepare for it.”

    If you can find some authoritative sources who warned in advance that flooding on this scale was likely and who offered policy advice and the government ignored this, then you might have a case. Or perhaps a link to some of your comments from, say, a fortnight or a month ago with some of your policy recommendations. As you haven’t provided these, one can only assume that this is just more of the pointless, tedious froth which the internet is full of.

    “Many Thais worried that his sister, the new prime minister, was not prepared for the job,”

    Well, Thailand being, in some senses, a democracy, it’s hardly that surprising that lots of people in the country don’t support her but given the size of her vote, your claim doesn’t really make much sense.

    “Anecdotal opinion from Bangkokians I have spoken to is even worse”

    That should probably read “Anecdotal opinion from Democrats I have spoken to…” What a shock.

    Really, this kind of drek is available on any forum catering to the reactionary bigots who come to Thailand for its young women. Best keep it there, rather than posturing as the output of a ‘think thank’.

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required

Pingbacks