Unfortunately, the flood waters are still rising (no matter what the Prime Minister might say) and a new projection says that it will be a month before the water clears away. Despite criticism of key figures in the government and their handling of the current crisis, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra rejects any suggestion that she might reshuffle her cabinet or that she, herself, might be replaced. At this time, even the most protected areas of Bangkok are at risk and people fear the worst. To date, more than 500 people in Thailand have lost their lives since the flooding began back in September.
Under the direction of the King, many dams have been built during his sixty-five year reign for the purpose of flood control. But with the incredible amount of rain that fell during the “Hot Season” and the additional rain that fell during the “Rainy Season,” Bhumibol Dam reached 99% of retention capacity, Sirikit Dam reached 99% of retention capacity, Kwae Noi Dam reached 100% retention capacity, Pasak Dam reached 136% of retention capacity, Ubonrat Dam (Khon Kaen Province) reached 120% of retention capacity, and Lampao Dam (Kalasin Province) reached 100% of retention capacity. Water released from those dams to ease the pressure on the dams has contributed to the current flood in Bangkok. Now that flood waters have inundated parts of the city where no water was ever expected, people are questioning why more water was not released from the dams during the “Hot Season” to prevent the current problem.
Here is a map showing the current water level in various parts of Bangkok. The white areas (surrounded by brown) are where the flood waters are the deepest (more than 4 meters deep – and, yes, that is meters, not feet!). The sky-blue areas are the areas that have not been flooded yet. But water continues to flow south into the city and even those places that have pumps to protect them say that their pumps are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water. Siam Center, the largest and most successful shopping center in Bangkok, is still open though flood waters are right outside. Flood waters have already entered the grounds of the Grand Palace, though they are only ankle deep at the present time.
Yet, in all of this, there are still those individuals who are enjoying the change. Children in Bangkok have learned that their schools, which were closed for semester break, will not open until at least Monday, November 21st, making this a very long break (more than one month) indeed! So, there is reason to smile and be happy – as long as there is someone else looking after things for you. Continue to pray for the people of Thailand. Even after the story no longer makes headlines, it will take a long time for life to get back to “normal.”