Monday, October 17, 2011

No Flood So Far

We've been really lucky so far that the flooding that has affected so much of Thailand has not struck us. We are only a few kilometers from the Chao Phraya river; the main river in Thailand, so we were concerned that the water traveling from the North would hit us. While it's a bit too early to say that the threat has passed, I am feeling more confident about it as the days pass.

 Last week I started taking some precautions in the form of buying additional water and food that we didn't need to cook or refrigerate and stored it on our second floor. We have enough canned and dry food to last us for many days. In addition, I also brought up all the electronics and other items from our first floor, and made some crude attempts at making a barrier against the water using plastic, wonder board, and bags of rocks. My reasoning was that if we prepared and the water doesn't come, then we just lost a little time. We'll eventually eat the food and drink the water, so it's not like that money is wasted.

 One of our friends who lives in another part of the city actually was hit with the flood waters this morning when a dike broke near her house. Apparently she had to wade through some pretty deep water to get out. I think she is going to stay with another family here in Nichada.

 Tim has been really great in helping out the flood victims. She and I visited the old airport where they are collecting donations for the flood victims. After we dropped off some modest supplies, we went inside and she talked to one of the workers to find out what they needed the most. While she was talking to her, a reporter came up and started to interview Tim. I slowly backed away to get out of the shot. The reported asked who I was, and Tim told her. The reported said "I guess he doesn't want to be on camera." She was correct in her assessment.

 One of the supplies that they really needed was medicine. Tim called the government run hospital and bought a very large supply of some medicines. It was really a great idea to call them, because the government hospital must be subsidized, and it sells the medicines at a fraction of the price that you could buy it in a pharmacy here. That meant that we were able to buy a lot more medicine. I was going to go with Tim to make the donation, but a bunch of Nichada moms went with her. I think they all were donating something. I also decided to stay so that I could try to get the house ready in case the water reached us.

 Tim returned to the airport a third time, this time with Jacob. They helped to bag supplies. It was really a great experience for both of them. I think Jacob really felt like he was helping the flood victims. While they were bagging supplies, the Prime Minister shows up to see how things are going and pose for photos. She ends up standing less than ten feet from Jacob and Tim, with only a pile of medicine in between them. The reporters were all gathered around Tim and Jacob trying to take photos of the Prime Minister helping a girl pack some bags. The photographers were getting pushy and bumping into Jacob and Tim, and almost stepping on the supplies. Tim turned to them, and in a very loud voice told them that they were going to step on the medicine that people needed. Apparently the Prime Minister heard her, because right after Tim said it she got up and moved on.

Hopefully the water which has stabilized will start to recede soon.  There have already been 300 deaths, and they are estimating the damage at over 3 billion U.S. dollars.  There were some industrial areas in Ayuthaya that were pretty hard hit.  It's things like this that makes some of Thailand's self inflicted wounds look so pointless.

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