Nature is a great leveler but in Bangkok that is clearly not the case these days. The city is divided into dry and flooded, and city dwellers are either in or outside the sandbag barriers that have been put up to protect inner Bangkok from the country’s worst flooding in decades.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was just starting to warm her seat when the calamity turned into a crisis, has pleaded for understanding and a little more sacrifice from those living outside the floodwalls.
But the sacrifice of staying submerged for weeks in order to keep the heart of the city safe and dry is taking its toll.
As the Bangkok Post reports, disgruntled residents living around Bangkok’s old Don Muang airport, that has been shut due to the floods, have taken matters into their own hands. They pulled out sandbags from the barrier to release stagnant water from their area. Families from another flooded district held a protest to demand government action on their plight.
Officials say 562 people have died and a third of the country has been affected by the flooding that has inundated farms and left thousands of factory workers without jobs.
The floods have also exposed the political wrangling and the inefficiencies in the system that have slowed the response to the crisis, says the Post, one of Thailand’s two English language dailies. “Crocodile tears during the year of the great flood just haven’t washed with the public,” opines the strongly worded editorial.
The paper calls for an independent inquiry and points to an American example: “Inquiries were launched after a similar disaster in the U.S. The Hurricane Katrina probe splintered into various inquiries and resulted in the arrest of some police officers.”