By Pailin Wedel
The Associated Press
BANGKOK (AP) — Floodwaters from Thailand’s flood-ravaged central heartland pushed farther into Bangkok on Monday, Nov. 7, as residents of long-submerged provinces north of the capital started to rebuild their lives.
The water slowly advancing through Bangkok’s northern and western neighborhoods is threatening the city’s subway system, two key industrial estates, and the emergency headquarters set up to deal with the flooding that has claimed more than 500 lives nationwide.
Evacuations have been ordered in 12 of Bangkok’s 50 districts, with residents of the northern district of Klong Sam Wa told to leave Monday.
The evacuations, which also affect parts of several other districts, are not mandatory, and many people are staying to protect homes and businesses. But the orders illustrate how far flooding has progressed into the city and how powerless the government has been to stop it.
The flooding began in late July and some provinces to the north of Bangkok have been inundated for more than a month.
The waters have started to recede in recent days, revealing the massive cleanup effort that lies ahead.
For two months, Anan Dirath was forced to live on the second floor of his home in Nakorn Sawan province.
But now that the water has receded to knee level, it’s time to clean up.
He armed his two teenage children with mops, scrub brushes, and garbage bags. Wading in the water, his family began scrubbing dirt off the walls and collecting the garbage around the house. He said the dirt was difficult to wash off and he has had to scrub the paint off to get rid of it.
“Oh, my pretty home. It used to be a pretty two-story home,” he said last Monday.
In nearby Nakorn Sawan town center, where the water has dried completely, the government sponsored a cleanup day last week when roads were scrubbed down to get rid of the oily mud left from the floods. Back hoes were used to carry garbage away.
The cleanup also has begun in some parts of Thailand’s ancient capital of Ayutthaya. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is to visit the province Tuesday to witness recovery efforts.
Yingluck says a plan to be put before the Cabinet on Tuesday would allocate 100 billion baht ($3.3 billion) for post-flood reconstruction.
Her government has come under fire for failing to predict the threat to Bangkok.
Residents also have been frustrated by widely differing assessments of the flooding situation from the prime minister, Bangkok’s governor, the country’s top water experts, and officials.
Floodwaters in the city continued to flow south Monday toward the still-unaffected central business district.
In Chatuchak, a few miles north of there, water was nearly knee deep around Mo Chit Skytrain station, the northernmost stop on the capital’s elevated train system.
Water was also rising near three subway stops in the same area. Both mass transit networks are functioning normally, though some exits have been barricaded and closed.
Chatuchak is home to the government’s national flood relief headquarters, which is housed in the Energy Ministry — a building now surrounded by water.The relief headquarters moved last week out of Bangkok’s Don Muang airport after it, too, was flooded. The city’s main airport remains open.
Also in Chatuchak, water has begun approaching a main road near the Mo Chit bus terminal, a major gateway to northern Thailand. (end)
Associated Press writers Vee Intarakratug, Todd Pitman, and Chris Blake contributed to this report.
Ways local citizens can help the victims of flooding
» Attend a fundraiser
On Saturday, Nov. 12, Silver Spoon Thai Restaurant is holding a fundraiser featuring singer Srisalai Suchatawut for flood relief in Thailand.
Where: Silver Spoon Thai Restaurant, 3828 196th St. S.W., Lynnwood
When: 10:30 p.m.
Cost: Proceeds from menu items will be donated to victims of flooding in Thailand
On Sunday, Nov. 13, Thai Chili Restaurant is holding the Thai Flood Relief Event, organized by Friends of Thailand — Pacific Northwest Group.
Where: Thai Chili Restaurant, 120 Washington Ave. N., Kent
When: 1–3:30 p.m. and 4–7 p.m.
Cost: $18–$25 (includes food). Raffle tickets will be $1/$5. Proceeds will be donated to the Rajaprajanigroh Foundation under the Royal Patronage.
Info/Tickets: Peter Tang, 206-218-6747
» Make a donation
Peter Tang, president of the Thai Association of Washington State, said there are many avenues in which to directly donate to help flood victims.
Princess Pa Foundation, Thai Red Cross Society was conceived during a high-flood disaster in Bangkok in 1995. It became an official foundation in 2001 and is currently accepting online donations through its website, www.princess-pa-foundation.or.th/english
Thai Red Cross is accepting online donations through its website, english.redcross.or.th. Thai Red Cross has roots in the late 19th century and was formally recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1920.
By check or money order:
The Royal Thai Consul-General in New York is accepting donations via checks or money orders issued to the “Royal Thai Consulate-General in New York.” Checks should be sent to 351 E. 52nd St., New York, NY 10022.
A direct deposit can also be made through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand.
Bank: Krungthai Bank (Samyod branch location)
Account name: Donation for Flood Victims (Savings Account)
Account number: 002-0-28256-7
Swift code: KRTHTHBK
For more information, visit www.thaiconsulnewyork.com/english.