Imagine the City of Seattle being completely flooded with water. People would have to abandon their homes, personal belongings, and maybe even pets. Having access to food would become a monumental challenge — a daily fight.
But one thing we can be sure of is that the rest of the world would come to our aid, as it did with New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.
However, Bangkok and other parts of Thailand aren’t experiencing the same kind of support.
Since late July, Thailand has experienced the worst flooding it’s had in half a century. As of early November, 529 people have died as a result of the flooding — mostly by drowning. This might seem like a relatively low number, though to put it in perspective, the Louisiana Department of Health said there were 1,464 deaths as a result of Katrina.
In Thailand, an estimated 11,000 people are homeless, and the flooding has affected an estimated 3.1 million people. Damage has been estimated to be $5.1 billion as of Oct. 18.
Flood water has only started to recede in certain areas. It is slow enough that experts predict that the crisis will likely drag on for another month.
Here in the United States, there has been relatively little coverage of the flooding by news media. In contrast, in Asia, news of the flooding inundates TV sets every day.
While the Thai population in the United States is not as large as the Japanese or Chinese population, it’s still important for us to come together to contribute what we can. The burden cannot be on the Thai community alone. Many Thai Americans have contributed as much as they can, despite modest incomes or other financial obligations. Many are exhausted.
It’s up to others to pick up the slack.
Bangkok may seem like a whole other world away — many of us, for whatever reason, may not identity with the city or with the country of Thailand the way we did with Japan earlier in the year — but that does not mean we can turn a blind eye. Many of our neighbors and fellow citizens still have families in Thailand and are deeply affected by this crisis.
To view a list of ways to contribute, see page 16. There are two fundraisers being held this weekend, one in Lynnwood and one in Kent. (end)