Thailand Floods Update
The Thai floods are still posing problems. With central Bangkok in the balance, the Thai government has hard choices to make. At the moment there are decreasing tides for the next week or so which gives them the opportunity to release of the flood waters north of the city in a controlled way. However it will seem to the people who are still living in the filthy disease and mosquito ridden waters that for the sake of Bangkok they are not letting it out as fast as they could. But, as one Thai minister said, we can cut the hand and live, but not the heart. Also, the window of opportunity for this controlled release of flood waters will begin to close before mid month as the ocean tides begin to rise again. So the race against timely draining of the northern suburbs of Bangkok and the real desire to spare the center of Bangkok makes the decision maker’s job unenviable.
The main International airport, Suvarnabhumi, is located on the city’s eastern outskirts, a key pathway for flood waters flowing from the north around Bangkok into the Gulf of Thailand. Suvarnabhumi is a crucial regional aviation hub and one Asia’s busiest airports, with some 800 flights per day and an average of 100,000 daily passengers, according to government figures.
Being a relatively new airport, having opened in 2006, the government says its built-in flooding defenses are strong. The 8,000 acre site is shielded by a 3.5 meter high, 22.5 kilometer long dirt mound. The worst of the flood waters so far, north of Bangkok, have reached upwards of 3 meters, though most of the serious flooding elsewhere has been in the range of 1 to 2 meters.
Though we certainly sympathize with the millions of people, figures reach 9.5 million out of 66 million, who have lost loved ones and property, here in Pattaya we have been fortunate to have experienced only a little flooding in the very lowest lying places such as under ground parking facilities and only for a short time a few weeks ago. The weather here has been generally pleasant and sea conditions have been quite good for scuba diving. As during the last few months of every year, the northerly winds can make the afternoon trips back a bit wavy.
The biggest threat to Pattaya is that, according to the Kasikorn Research Center, tourist’s knowledge of the flooding will probably cause tourist arrivals cuts by 350,000 to 600,000, losing the country’s tourism revenue by 15 to 25 Billion Baht.