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Phuket Opinion: Don’t blame it on the rain

PHUKET: Nature has made a grave statement across the Asian region this past week, in which nasty weather and subsequent widespread flooding have left thousands dead and tens of millions inundated or displaced, from India, Pakistan and Myanmar to the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and China.

environment, disasters, economics, marine, natural-resources, pollution, tourism, transport,


The Phuket News

Sunday 16 August 2015, 08:00AM


Rain can bring floods, but much of the effects we see are our own fault. Photo: The Phuket News
Rain can bring floods, but much of the effects we see are our own fault. Photo: The Phuket News

Thailand, which geographically lies in the middle of all the havoc, has not been exempt from the deluge. As the Pacific-borne super-typhoon-turned tropical rainstorm “Soudelor” made landfall in China this past week, weather warnings were issued for several provinces in the kingdom’s Northeast, while this season’s particularly strong southwesterly monsoons have continued to batter Andaman Sea coastal provinces.

Here in Phuket, we’ve been subjected to a relatively small taste of the August fury, so far. Last Friday (August 7) commuters were caught in two-hour-long traffic tailbacks amidst flooded roadways while distressed villagers in Nai Yang were displaced as metre-high floodwaters breached their low-lying homes (See story here).

http://www.thephuketnews.com/phuket-residents-stack-sandbags-in-fear-of-more-floods-53610.php

Meanwhile, the monsoon has left much of the west coast cluttered with debris – plastic and organic – as beachgoers screamed bloody murder at the sight of discarded fishing nets, polystyrene and other rubbish mixed in with all the seaweed-laden driftwood that had washed ashore. (See story here.)

While some officials have suggested that the traffic, flooding and rubbish accumulation on Phuket beaches were all a result of the run of nasty weather, The Phuket News would like to humbly highlight the actual underlying cause and source: Us – you, me, them!

Indeed, humans are to blame for most of our own misfortunes, and more specifically our shortcomings and incompetencies when it comes to planning and prevention.

The weather didn’t discard the fishing nets and polystyrene into the sea – people did. And while the rain did come down hard on Nai Yang, as it does this time every year, the flooding was a result of inadequate and clogged drainage systems.

As for the notion that rain causes traffic, is it not a result of chaotic roadworks and the addition of tens of thousands of new vehicles to the island’s roads every year, coupled with inadequate public transport?

No one will argue that the rain does not make a bad situation worse, but Phuket, like much of the region, needs more accountability. Blame it on a lack of budget, infrastructure or plan, but please, don’t blame it on the rain.

 

 

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Timothy | 17 August 2015 - 09:02:25

Richard, I agree with you 100%. Bang Tao is a perfect example. Look at the roads that were dug up for the installation of storm drains. They were haphazardly patched-up so poorly they are now full of giant pot holes. The project was a mess from the beginning. They would remove the road surfaces and leave them for months a muddy hazzard. Of course the Mayor can't complain about the quality of work because the contractors were left with little money to do a proper job. There are public works all over the country being done in this way. Everything is just a band-aid fix instead of proper job. They know it's just going to fall apart again soon but don't care. They will get another budget to pilfer to do the work again! 

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Richard Vickers | 16 August 2015 - 12:42:44

Let us also not neglect the criminal graft by local officials that pilfer road/drainage project funds into their own accounts, leaving the bare minimum which is barely enough to pay a handful of Burmese women and children to finish the jobs, one hand mixed bucket at a time. Poorly planned projects ripped off by local government officials. The NCPO should look into these nightmare projects that take years, are never finished, and which leave the exact same problems they were supposed to fix. Looking at Bang Tao would be a great place to start, including the Mayor's bank accounts, although I'm sure they are well hidden by now.

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Bjay | 16 August 2015 - 12:39:51

Well said! The sea has returned our Garbage which needs to be removed & not be permitted to be washed back out to sea. We all know that the seemingly unstoppable construction of condos & hotels without adequate infrastructure is the fault of the Thai Local Government!

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Concerned | 16 August 2015 - 08:38:37

No wonder why perhaps gullies are blocked
Seen during dry season ignorant people putting cigarettes snack packing small plastic bags food leftovers etc even worse deep-frying oil down the gullies
When the rainy season starts they gullies are blocked.

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