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The Flood!

Hector · 6 · 654

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Online Hector

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I am surprised to have seen nothing on the Forum about the floods.  I realise that Korat City is pretty much unaffected and that the view from overseas is not really up to speed, but this flooding is undoubtedly the most serious and widespread since the 2010 one here in the Isaan, which I was also party to.  Of course then the government in Bangkok was agog with apathy at flooding in the Isaan and it wasn't until the following year in 2011when Bangkok suffered the same fate that they sat up and took notice.  Not that anything was done to attempt to prevent a repeat performance and so here we are again.
Yes, there has been rain, but not a great amount as far as Korat Province was concerned.  The problem in 2010 and now has been the run-off from the dams and reservoirs to the north and east.  The Standard Operating procedure for RIB or the dam controllers is clearly to open the floodgates when the levels get too high.  Fair enough, but when these dams were constructed, it seems that no-one took into account where this water was going to go.  The rivers and streams were filled to overflowing and the water swept inexorably and relentlessly through the low lying fields and villages, destroying crops and homes (in some cases), and leaving people with no electricity (we were without for 4 days!), no water, septic tanks under water so no toilets, food in freezers and fridges rotting and so on.
Roads like the Mitraparp were constructed 2 metres high without many flood drains under them, so when the flood water encountered these 'dams' it simply backed up until it was deep enough to flow over them.  Same this time: my side (west) of the Mitraparp is under more than a metre of water, the eastern side is almost clear.
Until a properly put together team with some outside (dare I say it – foreign) help gets a grip of the situation and does some serious environmental studies of water management in the country, the same thing is going to happen again and, if you believe in climate change, you probably won't have to wait another eleven years.


Online Hector

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To misquote Oscar Wilde: “To be flooded twice in ten years may be regarded as a misfortune; to be so twice in three weeks looks like carelessness.” 
To be flooded twice in 10 years is a personally accepted risk of building one's house in a particular location after due consideration of flood possibilities. To be flooded twice in three weeks due, not to rain in the area, but to water release from reservoirs a long way from one's home is unacceptable in every way, as any risk assessment could hardly take into account the lack of eco-planning in reservoir construction and the subsequent lack of foresight and commonsense by those who order the flood gates to be opened without any consideration of where the released water goes – or can go.
After the floods of 2010 in the northeast and 2011 in the Central Region and Bangkok there were repeated promises of work to be done to mitigate future disasters, but of course it was all hot air and ten years down the road here we are again. No doubt we will hear similar promises and plans in the next month or two and no doubt come the next time it rains a bit too much, the poor wretched villagers in the flood plains will face the same hardships and loss.  To add insult to injury, no-one in authority (Royal Irrigation Dept, Disaster Mitigation Authy, ….whoever) has the guts to issue warnings and take responsibility.
Last week Korat suffered somewhat from the LamTakhong outflow and the flooding at the Maharat Hospital hit the headlines, but drive north from Korat up the Mitraparp and see the destruction of the rice fields and many of the village houses: no headlines for them, however, and compensation when/if it comes will be meagre.


Online rdrokit

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Sometimes we forget we are living in a 3rd world country. Seems the government uses bandaids instead of taking on the root causes.  A am so glad that my home has never flooded and feel sorry for the people living in the lowlands.


Online Roger

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Undoubtedly flooded homes are a horror and as with every other Nation in the World, Thailand must do better. In fairness, the rainfall here can be extreme but that's even more reason to provide for it as much as possible. Around the World, severe floods occur regularly even in Nations like the US, UK, Germany - almost everywhere in fact.

Thailand does try here and there, I remember seeing under road drains being built near Chok Chai and as an example, around low lying Chantaburi, there's a 10 km flood relief canal 30 metres wide ! Even so, floods were recently experienced. But as Hector observes, taking flood risks into account when building new roads is essential - FGS let's not make the problems worse . . . And to know that the water that floods your house has been deliberately released must be frustrating beyond belief and the privations are at the edge of endurance.

Hector I hope your place is not too bad and good luck to you and all - hopefully the rains will soon cease for this year anyway.
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Offline Coolkorat

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It is being reported that the flood gates at Lam Kathong have been fully opened as the dam is at 105% capacity.

Royal Irrigation Department capacity map


Online Hector

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Yes, I drove past the Lam Takhong on Thu and Fri.  Sure, its full, but I've seen if more so.  I understand why they have flood gates on dams - to reduce the level and pressure of water on the dam when they are full to prevent damage to the structure.  But the Lam Takhong is one of the many reservoirs in Thailand that were constructed without a substantial spillway to take the water from the floodgates.  If you look at satellite images of the Lam Takhong, you can just make out the small khlong, but there is no decent sized spillway at all.  Hence the flooding of the local countryside.  But - heck, this the the Isaan - who in govt cares!? (Until the floods hit Bkk, that is.)