With 3 updates: Floods challenge government

9 10 2011

A Bloomberg photo

According to Bloomberg, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has said that the huge floods that have cost more than 250 260 lives are “Thailand’s worst floods in more than half a century … and threaten to swamp … Bangkok, as early as next week…”.

Yingluck said: “This will have a direct impact on Bangkok…. We have to admit that this is more serious than in the past.” She added: “The government is just a little more than a month old and it is difficult to cope with this situation because the volume of water is exceptionally high…”.

That’s all true, but Yingluck’s government will have to take the political fallout from the floods, much as Abhisit Vejjajiva’s administration did in 2010. To date there hasn’t been the incompetence of the government and corruption involved in the allocation of relief as seen under Abhisit, but such allegations won’t be far away.

An AP photo

PPT can’t help wondering what the situation might have been like if technicians had been able to adequately prepare for flooding over the past 3-4 decades? What would it have been like if the king – often claimed to be some kind of mystical but unqualified engineer – had not been seen by many as the lead player on water control?

Or is this the 1 in 100 year flood that no amount of flooding farmers in Ayudhya to save Bangkok scheme could have halted?

Update 1: A reader points out that the Democrat Party-led Bangkok city administration is relying on spiritual intervention to keep the floods at bay. The reader adds that in the years since the princely Sukhumbhand Paribatra has been governor, the storm drains have never been cleaned, despite residents pleas. At the same time, complaints that construction firms illegally dump waste down the drains have fallen on deaf ears. The reader says that even normal rainfall floods the sois in their area and the levels have been higher each year.

Update 2: PM Yingluck has seen the significance in political and human terms of this flooding. As well as expressing considerable concern about the floods and has been busy visiting flooded areas. She has also been pushing government and has cancelled overseas visits.

Update 3: Simon Roughneen has an article with plenty of pictures on the floods north of Bangkok and heading into the city (one is posted below and link is fixed).

Photo by Simon Roughneen


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10 10 2011
Rich royal disappointed by Lords of Acid | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] get her private concert even for a “generous amount of money.” No doubt the mammoth and deadly floods did not prevent her an expensive party. Share […]

15 10 2011
More reporting on floods | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] As PPT noted in our first post on these 2011 floods, the Yingluck Shinawatra government is bound to be held responsible for failures on handling the massive floods that have now claimed more than 300 lives. Over the past two days, the government has rightly been chastised for its lack of clear communications on flooding. National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission member Supinya Klangnarong has some reasonable advice. She […]

20 10 2011
Updated: Floods and politics I « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] our posts on 2011 floods, click here to begin or simply click through to our home […]