Questions swirl as Thai floodwaters recede
Nov 15, 2011
The Prime Minister of Thailand is warning that some floodwaters may still be around into next year. Twenty-two provinces have been affected by the disaster, and many people have been living with the polluted water for weeks, with some running out of patience. Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Bangkok.
BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Thai authorities have put the death toll of the country's floods at 562 people since July, with 22 out of 77 provinces still affected. Flooding is receding in parts of Bangkok but remains high on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river and to the east of the capital, with many residents facing more weeks of hardship.
This is a government-funded housing estate in the west side of Bangkok. Hundreds of people have lived here for decades.
Now, with the flood waters still spreading, residents are under threat. Transportation has been difficult as water continues to flow into the district.
Sunisa Wicheansan, who moved here 1995, runs a nursery out of her apartment. But the rising flood waters over the past three days have made it difficult for parents to drop off their kids. The neighborhood playground is now under half-a-meter of water.
Sunisa Wicheansan said: "I'll still wait and see, because if the water keeps rising, then I don't know where to evacuate. We can’t go any higher. The room is too small."
Several areas on the west bank of Chao Phraya River have been inundated since last month.
Right now, the waters are continuing to flow south toward the sea.
Most residents have not left their homes because they are concerned about their belongings.
Local resident Prateuang Jaiboon said: "The authorities have told us to evacuate, but where we live is still quite a bit above ground level. People upstairs don't want to move because it's not flooded yet. Besides, if they move out, who will take care of the belongings of the people here?"
As floodwaters begin to subside at Lad Prao intersection in central Bangkok, People struggle to keep their businesses going. Locals have started a big clean-up, sweeping water out of shops and clearing up rubbish that’s floated for days in the smelly brown water. But they still have a long way to go.
Worker Kittima Tiengsrikliang said: "I tried to keep the business going. I shouldn't stop. I pray everyday for the water to subside. I have missed a lot of customers."
Authorities estimate that about 16,000 residents have taken shelter in 163 evacuation centres in Bangkok. Other people have had to rent accommodation or find refuge with relatives and friends in the areas untouched by floods.
Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century has affected more than 13 million people - one in five of the whole Thai population.