Thailand is prone to rainy seasons and granted too, there is an expectation Thailand will flood during these rainy seasons. Thailand has also experienced catastrophic floods before, the most recent being in 1995. However, what is not granted is when a newly industrialized country with the second-largest economy in Asia fails to manage a situation it has had so much experience in handling and lets a situation get so far out of control.
This year’s monsoon season was like no other. However, then, why, like in recent years, was the water build-up created from the unusually heavy monsoons not released. Why were there questions about drainage systems left neglected and un-dredged for years, and why was there no system in place in the event of such a situation?
While admittedly it can be difficult to understand Thailand’s politics and systems of governance, it was clear for all to see that everything fell apart during the recent flooding situation.
The response from the powers that be was seriously questioned. Serious mismanagement of information by inter agencies and ministries releasing conflicting information, and media outlets competing in a bid to see who could sensationalise the situation the most led to the people of Thailand ending up confused, frustrated, and frightened.
As such virtual anarchy broke out as supermarket shelves were left empty due to panic buying, People fortified their houses with sandbags and concrete walls, abandoned cars were left on bridges and highways and neighbouring provinces began fighting amongst one another, while senior political figures seemed to use the situation to bolster their image and point the finger.
Was this how Thailand wished herself to be seen by the rest of the world?
It has to be said that this is not the first government that has diverted incoming water. It has happened before as recently as last year.
The question is: why do governments both past and present continue to allow cities industrial zones, highways, and other infrastructure to build in areas that are prone to flooding.
It appears truly bizarre, does it not, that a country lures multinational companies and investors such as Honda, Ford, and Toyota to their shores with promises of low wages, great infrastructure, and free trade zones only to stand by and let their 14,000 factories and warehouses be destroyed by floodwater. It could have been prevented, that is, were preventative measures put in place?
It is disappointing that in this day and age a fast-developing country puts individual political and financial agendas before the welfare of the country. It has the air of a lack of respect and care for its people and offers little in the way of compensation for its victims.