Royal Thai Army Trying to Save Flooding Victims in Bangkok Area

The flooding situation in Thailand now is the worst of the past 50 years, and it is creating a great deal of damage to this country, totaling more than 200,000 million THB (Thai currency, the baht), or more than 6.666 million USD. The flooding has killed almost 300 people. This disaster is the most severe incident since the tsunami of 2004.

The fact that the flooding has hit Bangkok has made it the most severe disaster scene in Thailand. Bangkok is in the route of the big flood from the north to the open sea, so the pressure now is in the water borders of Bangkok. The depth of the rivers in Bangkok has started to increase, and the citizens of Bangkok are waiting for the water barricades to break and the flooding to attack the heart of the city.

In this time of disaster, the Royal Thai Army (RTA) plays an important role in rescuing and giving aid to flood victims. General Prayute Chan-ocha, supreme commander, said that the army has sent more than 40,000 soldiers to help the flooded areas of Bangkok. The army has been sending out trucks, boats, and many other facilities to help the flood victims. Evacuating the inhabitants from the flooding, which is already severe in some areas of Bangkok, is a difficult job. The inhabitants of these areas tend to stay in their homes until the last minute, even when the flood waters started to become high. This means that aid such as food and water has to be distributed to the houses, but if the inhabitants move to a safe zone in an established relief facility, they will get the food and water more easily.

The inhabitants may think that, if the flooding comes to their doors and the water level hits their first floor, all they have to do is move to the second floor. This may not be the best decision. The electricity will be cut off, usually by the electricity control unit in the villages. Without electricity, all the food in the refrigerator will go bad, even if the refrigerator is moved to the second floor. In addition, there will be mosquitoes and a bad smell from the contaminated water. The water can be toxic, too, since the flooding will cause the water in the sewer to mix with the flood and drinking water.

Three deaths caused by electric shock inside home have been reported so far after people refused to evacuate to a safe zone. Even when the power has been cut to one’s house and the power supply to the village has been cut off, it is still not safe to walk in the water because there is no way to know whether there is an electricity leak.

Any problem that makes it harder for the RTA to help the victims is political. It seems as if this disaster has become a stage show for members of the government to win more votes in the next election; at least they want to keep their voters. Moreover, the present Thai government, run by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of Taksin Shinawatra, is not planning to declare a state of emergency. If she decided to declare a state of emergency, the army would have more authority to do their work. The government is afraid that the army will take this chance to start a coup like the one that happened in 2006 when Taksin Shinawatra was the prime minister of Thailand.

“Whether to declare a state of emergency or not has nothing to do with the RTA, and we don’t have any conflict with the government and never suggest that the government should declare the state of emergency,” said General Prayute Chan-ocha.

“The most important thing is that we have to work together and not accuse each other. It’s certain that working on a big project like this will involve many people, and this leads to misunderstandings, but we must not blame others,” added the general.

Right now, people in Bangkok are sleeping with their eyes half open because the water can break the barricades at any time and rage into the heart of the city. However, one thing is certain: the RTA is working very hard in every flooded area. They help through providing food, building shelter, and saving lives.

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