By: Kristen Hegel
After the worst flooding in over a half of a century took place inThailand, dirty floodwater is seeping into the streets ofBangkok. Since the flooding began in July, it has claimed over 500 lives within 25 of the country’s 77 provinces.
“This disaster is the biggest that we have ever met. We’re trying to cope with the situation and help as much as we can,” Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, said. “We can’t stop all flooding but we will try to reduce the impact.” Shinawatra issued a “three-point plan” to help the country recover from the disaster. Aid packages are being sent to people whose homes and businesses have been destroyed. Helping to restore the peoples’ lives and businesses is part of the short-term plan.
The long-term plan includes creating two committees, one to plan development and infrastructure and the other to manage the country’s water resources. “The situation is quite serious. The water is making ground slowly but surely towards the heart ofBangkok,” Rungsun Munkong, flood relief coordinator, stated. “I believe thousands of people are in their homes and are still not evacuating. [They] possibly will be stranded with little food and water as time goes by.” According to Munkong, thousands of residents refused to leave their homes even though evacuation warnings were sent out.
“I think it will be difficult down the road to get help to these people,” Munkong said. “People need clean water, that’s the first important thing. Cooked ready-to-eat food is also quite important, baby milk and so on.” Citizens who decided not to evacuate are having a hard time accessing aid that is being distributed at evacuation centers in the city. This past Sunday, 100 boats were sent to give aid to locals who were struggling to get supplies.
Thailand’s government has been criticized for not responding quickly enough when disaster struck. The government claims that they lack the resources to deal with the floodwaters.