The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand has announced today that 68 people have been killed* as a consequence of the flooding which has affected large areas of Thailand in the past few weeks. An estimated 3 million people have now been affected by the floods which have mainly hit the north-east and central areas of Thailand.
*Update: Friday, October 29:
A fresh statement by Thai authorities has announced that at least 94 people have now been killed by the floods.
Bangkok Not Out of Danger Yet
There had been concern that large areas of Bangkok could be hit by floods this week, but a lower than expected high-tide has meant that the Thai capital has escaped relatively unscathed. Although there has been some localised flooding in areas close to the Chao Phraya, the river which runs through Bangkok, the situation wasn’t as bad as some forecasters had predicted. However, another high tide is expected for the Thai capital on November 8 and Thai authorities will continue to closely monitor the water levels of the Chao Phraya River.
Southern Thailand on Alert for Flash Floods
Flood water is beginning to recede in the worst hit areas of central and north-east Thailand with train services from Bangkok to the north of the country able to resume a full service today. Despite this, it could be at least another two weeks before the flood water recedes completely from some districts in the north-east region of Isaan.
Although the worst of the floods could be over for some parts of the kingdom, the south of Thailand is now being warned to brace itself for flash floods over the next few days as a result of a monsoon weather system. Heavy rain is forecast for large areas of southern Thailand including popular tourist locations such as Phuket, Krabi and Ko Samui. Road and rail transport in the south could be affected by localised flooding and landslides, whilst high waves may force the cancellation of some boat services.
Thailand Unites for Flood Victims
Political problems may continue to divide Thailand, but the country has managed to unite to come to the assistance of the flood victims. Floods at this time of the year aren’t uncommon in Thailand, but this year has been exceptional with the worst floods in more than fifty years devastating large parts of the country.
The King of Thailand has made personal financial contributions to the flood victims and His Majesty has also been receiving daily updates on the flood situation as he continues to convalesce at the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. Members of the Thai Royal Family have also visited flood-hit areas and joined in with the effort to distribute aid packages.
The Thai military have been working alongside charities including the Thai Red Cross, whilst many music and televisions celebrities have also pitched in with the relief effort. For the moment at least, the country is coming together and not divided by who is a red shirt and who is a yellow shirt. As a Thai Red Cross worker said, ‘we are all Thai together. . . . we must help each other’.