Flooding in Thailand

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Flooding occurs year round in Thailand. But it is even more serious during monsoon season. This specific natural disaster brings adverse effects to the people, infrastructure and economy of Thailand.

Recently, the continuous and heavy rainstorm in Thailand has created an exponential increase in the water level (in comparison to past years of course). The year-round tropical climate also furthers vulnerability towards flooding in most southern regions. In addition, the current drainage system may also not be most suitable to deal with heavy rain, because the drainage system is mixed with the sewage system – which results in the pipes overflowing with wastewater. Therefore the creation of a weak infrastructure is directly related to a poor built drainage system.

This results in a huge industrial disruption, which then kills the economic productivity of companies across the board- especially the manufacturing industry. The forced closing of factories and facilities creates large amounts of unemployment. Flooding also reduces companies’ confidence towards business opportunities in Thailand and impacts foreign investment in grave ways.

Flooding affects people’s livelihood and causes the loss of hundreds of lives. The floods turns roads into rivers and cities into lakes. People are trapped in their homes.  Transportation services are suspended. Many historic sites are damaged. But lastly, the Thai economy takes the largest hit overall.

These harsh floods and conditions can last up to half year, and even longer to fix. Fortunately, the government has implemented new measures to alleviate the situation.

In 2011, one of the most determinantal floods in over half a century occured in Thailand . The flood spread to different provinces all over north Thailand. Consequently, the flood walls that were designed to contain the river- collapsed. The maximum capacity of some dams were exceeded.  Eventually, the flood resulted in death of more than 800 people. World Bank estimated the damages to have reached THB 1440 billion. Thai officials immediately implemented policies to ease the problem. For example, the cabinet approved  a budget to allot aid and supplies to farming households specifically. The government even declared holidays for speeding up evacuation of people (with the aid of armed forces evacuating displaced families into shelter).

In conclusion, although we have no control on climate and natural disaster, prevention and sustainable infrastructure are both essential to prevent future flooding. With that being said, as of recently,  the government established the Strategic Committee for Water Resource Management (SCWRM). This 20-year Strategic Plan on Water Management will hopefully ensure sustainability for Thailand.


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