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Thailand after the floods: When communities own their change

Flavia Carbonari's picture
Also available in: ภาษาไทย

In 2011, Thailand suffered the worst floods in half a century. The flood crisis impacted more than 13 million people. About 97,000 houses were damaged and entire villages and cities were under water for months.

House in Ayutthaya affected by the 2011 floods
House in Ayutthaya affected by the 2011 floods

Three years later, Thailand has been able to deal with the worst of the impacts but some of the poorest households are still struggling to recover. We visited 10 affected communities in Ayutthaya and Nakhon Sawan as part of the supervision of the Community-based Livelihood Support for Urban Poor Project (SUP). We could still see the water marks on their walls, damaged ceilings, and wobbly structures. The unrepaired houses stuck out but just as striking was the strong sense of community in the area. We were reminded that villagers came together to overcome the worst natural disaster most of them ever witnessed in their lives.

The flooding led to better disaster risk management in the neighborhoods  that are most at risk. Local governments have taken the lead. But the disaster has also, just as importantly, mobilized ordinary citizens in some of the most deprived communities. Here are some of their stories:

Filipinos, ask your questions on how to cope with the effects of climate change

Justine Espina-Letargo's picture

Secretary Lucille L. Sering of the Climate Change Commission in the Philippines will answer 5 Questions in 5 Minutes on adapting to climate change -- Post your questions in the comments section below.As a resident of Quezon City in Metro Manila, I grew up with typhoons and floods during the monsoon season that normally lasts from June to September. People in cities have learned to live with floods, and perhaps, not learned from the experience enough to change mindsets, lifestyles. Our drains continue to be clogged, motorists get stranded on the road, families still live in danger zones so much so that entire communities get evacuated, lives and livelihoods are lost, year in, year out.

Filipinos, how are you adapting to climate change? You ask, we answer

Lucille L. Sering's picture

Climate change is definitely upon us.  You don’t need to have a scientific mind to realize this, as recent natural calamities have shown in the Philippines, which also swept through some parts of Southeast Asia causing hundreds of casualties and losses to the economy: Typhoons Ondoy (International name: Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma) in 2009 that flooded Metro Manila; Sendong (Washi) in 2011 which was recognized as the world’s deadliest storm in 2011; and Pablo (Bopha) in 2012.  Certainly, this is a little discomforting and makes us a little bit apprehensive about our future. To lessen our anxiety about this phenomenon, it helps to ask questions and get answers. It’s also good to know if something is being done to address the problem – and know that it is being done right.

The Aquino government has been very aggressive in its approach to address the problem of climate change.  It staffed the Climate Change Commission  (CCC) and made it functional. The CCC coordinates and provides oversight and policy advice on programs and projects on climate change. It is also tasked to craft the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change and the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). The latter serves as the country’s roadmap to effectively deal with the problem. The CCC also takes a strong stand in international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Live web chat - How can cities prepare for and manage floods?

Claudia Gabarain's picture

Copyright Gideon MendelFloods are the most frequent among all natural disasters. In 2010 alone, 178 million people globally were affected by floods. More than 90 % of the global population exposed to floods lives in Asia.

 

Shoe molds and scuba divers: How natural disasters affect our supply chains

Thomas Farole's picture
Photo courtesy of ianmyles through a Creative Commons license

Available in ภาษาไทย

Like the massive earthquake in Japan earlier this year, the floods in Thailand are again exposing the vulnerabilities of fragmented global supply chains.

Last month, a team of economists from the World Bank’s International Trade Department encountered some flooding side-effects during a visit to the Indonesian production site for ECCO, a Danish company that manufactures footwear. In order to transfer production to the factory in Indonesia, the workers needed the specific shoe molds used in the Thai factory. But there was a problem: The Thai factory was under three meters of water.

แม่พิมพ์รองเท้ากับนักประดาน้ำ: ผลกระทบจากภัยพิบัติทางธรรมชาติต่อห่วงโซ่อุปทาน

Thomas Farole's picture
ภาพภ่ายโดย iamyles ผ่านการใช้ลิขสิทธิ์จากครีเอทีฟคอมมอนส์

ยังมีอีกที่: English

เช่นเดียวกับแผ่นดินไหวครั้งรุนแรงที่ญี่ปุ่นเมื่อต้นปี ภาวะน้ำท่วมในประเทศไทยได้ตอกย้ำให้เห็นอีกครั้งถึงความเปราะบางของห่วงโซ่อุปทานสินค้าของโลกที่แบ่งกระจัดกระจายอยู่ตามประเทศหรือภูมิภาคต่างๆ

เมื่อเดือนที่แล้ว ทีมนักเศรษฐศาสตร์จากแผนกการค้าระหว่างประเทศ (International Trade Department) ของธนาคารโลกได้พบเห็นปัญหาบางประการอันเป็นผลข้างเคียงจากภาวะน้ำท่วมดังกล่าวในระหว่างการเยือนโรงงานผลิตรองเท้าที่ประเทศอินโดนีเซียของบริษัทเอ็คโคจากเดนมาร์ก ในการที่จะย้ายการผลิตไปยังโรงงานที่อินโดนีเซียนั้น คนงานจำเป็นต้องใช้แม่พิมพ์รองเท้าแบบเฉพาะที่ใช้ในโรงงานที่ประเทศไทย แต่ปัญหาคือ โรงงานไทยกำลังจมอยู่ใต้น้ำระดับสามเมตร

Laos: How the Nam Theun 2 dam is managed during flood events

William Rex's picture

William RexIt’s been an unusually severe rainy season in some parts of Lao PDR, with several typhoons passing over after making landfall in Vietnam.  Thailand is also severely hit, with Bangkok bracing itself for floods as I write this

Travelling great distances to improve lives of rural Solomon Islands communities

Alison Ofotalau's picture
Map courtesy of Wikipedia through a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Taking development to the outlying provinces of Solomon Islands is not an easy ride. I found this out when going on a site visit to the Rural Development Program (RDP) at the country’s far western province of Choiseul.

At the Northwest region of Choiseul province where the island faces open waters that span to the Micronesian archipelago of the Pacific lies a village called Polo. The Polo community has a primary school that was established in 1957 when Solomon Islands was still a British Protectorate, prior to independence in 1978. Since its inception, the Polo school never had a permanent classroom building until two years ago when through the RDP participatory process, the community identified the school as their main need.

In Queensland, no great barrier to flood recovery

Henrike Brecht's picture

The New Year was not so happy in Queensland, Australia. In December 2010 and January 2011, floods swept across the state and at the beginning of February 2011, cyclone Yasi, a category 5 storm, struck near Cairns. Dozens died, hundreds were evacuated, thousands were affected and an excess of US$15 billion of damages were caused. A state of emergency was declared in all but one of the 75 councils. Seventy percent of the state was impacted; an area five times the size of the United Kingdom. 

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