Phuket Opinion: The rising tide of progress

PHUKET: The floods last week that wrought havoc on homes and displaced families across the northern half of the island – and now officially noted as the worst on record – seemed to take many people by surprise, but anyone who has lived on the island for at least the past few years couldn’t say they didn’t see it coming.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 24 September 2017, 09:00AM

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong (2nd from left) stands on a bridge in Phuket Town last Friday (Sept 15) as surging floodwaters place unprecedented pressure on the bridge's structural supports. Photo: PR Dept

Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong (2nd from left) stands on a bridge in Phuket Town last Friday (Sept 15) as surging floodwaters place unprecedented pressure on the bridge's structural supports. Photo: PR Dept

The breakneck rate of development across the island has been plain to see, as swathes of green have disappeared from the hills that form the backbone of our island. Anyone who hasn’t already been subjected to flooding need only keep an eye out for their nearest construction site on higher ground for a hint that floods might be on the horizon.

Mother Nature sent a shot across Phuket’s proverbial bow just last month, yet those downpours and subsequent flooding were actually the result of less rainfall than that which brought the floods this past week. By then, of course, it was already too late. The buffalo had bolted and those whose homes were prone to flooding were about to be literally inundated with the reality of their situation.

That doesn’t make it any nicer, or fairer. As for the landslide that damaged the two-story villa project in Kamala, anyone who thinks that a piddling landslide will prevent those villas from being completed and later sold to unsuspecting buyers probably needs to spend a couple more years on the island watching the wheels of progress turn.


Even scarier is the emergency “patch” response to the two bridges in Pa Khlok that suffered damaged from the raging torrents beneath them. In a country where “putting a band-aid on a band-aid” is a solution to a problem, the speed of those repairs was hardly convincing.

Furthermore, the bridges crossing Bang Yai Canal in Phuket Town are about half-a-century old. Construction standards in Thailand are not great today, so what they were like back then is anyone’s guess. Perhaps we should be grateful they have not already collapsed, but at the very least, every bridge in Phuket Town that was subjected to extreme, “unforeseen” pressure from the rains must be stress-tested lest they collapse when the next heavy rains come.

At least local officials seem to getting it right with the monkeys, asking experts and seeking appropriate places where the ever-growing population of Phuket’s indigenous monkey troops could, should and would be moved to. It’s a pity our “competent officials” can’t do the same when it comes to providing permission for new buildings.



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Roller | 27 September 2017 - 16:35:37

Say it's not so!!! They are moving Beerbox to the back of Boat Avenue shopping arcade and plunking a Burger King front and center by the traffic light and changing what used to be a very nice shopping arcade into another corporate ugly low quality eatery. Who says money doesn't talk! Why didn't they put the Ugly Burger King at the back and let local business remain the face of this nic...

Kurt | 24 September 2017 - 13:52:03

Great PN piece of Opinion.
Yes, Anyone living many years on Phuket island is not surprised by the floodings, etc.
See Patong police station, 2 hours heavy rain and you need a swimming diploma on ground floor.
Canals? All not clean and volume wise not sufficient, already many years. 
A on Phuket continues cutting trees and greenery on hills, there the land slides come, because Phuket officials ...

CaptainJack69 | 24 September 2017 - 11:57:59

The monkeys can be moved because no one is being paid to look the other way.

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