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Thailand floods

November 14, 2011

Angry protesters have damaged a major floodwall in northern Bangkok amid growing frustration with the Thai government's 'inadequate' response to flood relief.

Thailand's worst flood in fifty years brought the country to a near standstill
Thailand's worst floods in 50 years brought the country to a near standstillImage: picture alliance / ZUMA Press

On Sunday, more than 100 residents of the inundated northern Bangkok gathered at a section of a 15-kilometer long flood barrier in the district of Don Mueang to protest against what they called the authorities' inefficiency to provide relief to those affected by the floods. The protesters removed small sandbags from the floodwall and damaged the bigger ones, making a 10-meter hole in the barrier.

The authorities dispatched 300 police officers on Monday to guard the flood barrier, fearing more attempts by the protesters to break the wall.

Protecting downtown

Bangkok's domestic airport Don Mueang
Bangkok's domestic airport Don Mueang has not been operational since late OctoberImage: dapd

The damaged floodwall prevents the run-off waters from the north from submerging relatively dry downtown, which houses Bangkok's luxury hotels, shopping malls and government buildings.

The demonstrators have threatened the authorities with more such protests if their demands are not met. They say they have been coping with waist-deep waters for almost a month while the government's relief efforts are mostly focused on central Bangkok. Residents of northern Bangkok have also complained about the shortage of food supplies and flood-related health issues.

Worst floods in 50 years

Thai soldiers pile up sandbags to make a flood barrier in Pathumthani province
Thai soldiers were deployed to help build flood barriersImage: dapd

Earlier, Jost Pachaly, Director of the German Heinrich Böll Foundation's Southeast Asia office in Bangkok, told Deutsche Welle that it was not necessarily the water level that was the main problem. "People in Bangkok are saying now that even if the worst is over, many areas are still going to be affected by the floods for four or five weeks," he said.

Thai officials claim that relief efforts are smoothly underway, and that the situation is under control.

Author: Shamil Shams (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Anne Thomas

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