Documenting Disaster: “It’s flooding but please take my photo.”
My camera happy Thai mother even carefully documented her own evacuation. I left for higher ground a couple of days ago, but it was not until today that Montha and her family took a BOAT up our STREET along with the rest of our neighbors. I am particularly fond of the resourceful woman who made a boat for her suitcase. While, I am not completely certain of Montha’s current whereabouts, I found these pictures on Facebook, meaning she at least is safe somewhere with WIFI.
All photos courtesy of the wonderful and resilient Montha Ketudat.
This photo was taken last night from the window of my condo in Bang Kruai neighborhood in Bangkok.
Thailand is experiencing its worst flooding in half a century.
While like many others in Bangkok I could complain about the government’s inconsistent stance and questionable actions (ex: they set up the flood crisis center in an at risk zone) I prefer to focus on the things that have stood out from my waiting for impending disaster experience. First, crisis preparation has come with technological innovation: Twitter has been the best source for up to date English news as the floodwaters sweep towards the city. Second, as people pile sandbags and build concrete walls in front of their shops and stockpile supplies the weather has been absolutely beautiful, not even a dark cloud in a sky to give a hint of any sort of looming crisis.
For now, I am fine. Six days ago I evacuated from my house close to the river to a more central location in Bangkok. Given all the inconsistent information, I and others have adopted the wait and see approach. The worst of the flooding is supposed to hit this weekend as high tides on the Chao Praya river arrive in Bangkok. The government has declared a five day national holiday so that city’s 12 million residents can either prepare or leave the city.
There is woman down the street from my house in Bangkok doing a similar thing, though the nice weather these past few days has probably decreased demand.
GONE SALE-ING A woman sold rubber boots in a flooded street in Rangsit, Thailand, Tuesday. Flooding has killed more than 300 people in the country; flood protection measures around the capital Bangkok have largely spared the city from becoming inundated. (Photo: Damir Sagolj / Reuters via the Wall Street Journal)
Sculpture Park in Nong Khai, the border town between Thailand and Laos.
I am the hero of my own story.