Thailand's ongoing battle with monsoon rains

A look at the flooding across Thailand

    Flooding in Saraburi, Thailand during September[GALLO/GETTY]

    Whilst typhoons such as Talas and Roke have rightly grabbed the weather headlines over the last few weeks, the steady monsoon rains that have affected much of Thailand may have appeared less newsworthy. But those rains have been both heavy and persistent and their impact certainly rivals those of any tropical storm.

    The effect of this rainfall on the lives of the Thai people has been huge. Aside from the deaths of more than 200 people since the rains began in July, it is estimated that more than 2 million have been affected.

    Across the country, 58 of the country’s 77 provinces have been hit. Concerns are growing about the country’s rice crop and vast tracts of farmland remain submerged after what is, reportedly, the worst monsoon rain in half a century.

    The current situation remains on a knife-edge with the network of canals and dams, designed to hold back the heaviest of the monsoon rain, full to overflowing.

    More heavy rain is expected over the next few days. Although Tropical Depression Nalgae is likely to disintegrate before it reaches the country, it may still exert enough of an influence to pep up the shower activity at a time when the north of country would normally expect the rains to be easing.

    In the south, monsoon rains usually persist until late October. In fact, in Bangkok, October is the second wettest month of the year. Although the capital has been spared significant flooding, so far, the country’s former capital, Ayutthaya, has suffered extensive flooding. Many of the 400-year-old temples at the World Heritage Site have been inundated by water overflowing from the nearby Chao Phraya river.

    Concern for the modern-day capital surrounds the possibility of dams being opened to relieve flooding further north. The knock-on effect of such action would be to pass the flooding problem to more southern areas.
    It should also be remembered that this has not only been a bad summer and autumn for Thailand.  Back in March, many of the country’s tourist resorts, including Ko Samui, were hit by serious flooding.

    With Thai climatologists predicting that the heavy rain will continue into November, Thailand is likely to continue to make weather headlines for some time to come.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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