March 15, 2017
Just imagine living in a house half flooded for months without anything. In November 2011, Bangkok had one of the worst flood disasters that hit the capital. After it happened, the government announced it was going to release the overloaded water from the great dams to the central part of Thailand. It may seem like a short period compared with people who live in a comfort zone, but it was a hard time for people who lived in the flood disaster. People had to start using boats to commute, and most businesses had to shut down. People who lost their homes had to move out of the city. The huge water spread out to many areas in Thailand, so people who lived in lower areas were hit by the flood. This flood was one of the worst experiences of my life, and it affected my family and over half of the country as well.
It was difficult to find food and purified water during the flood. Most factories were in the suburbs, and they were affected by the flood. Most food and purified water disappeared in the flood because the vendors could not send food or water to the city. One day after the flood, I went to the store in the city, but I could not find food, purified water, first aid kit, or any necessary items. Most of the stores were closed because they did not have products to sell. My colleague who had lost her home from the flood came to stay with me in my condominium. We were lucky that the condominium had electricity, so we could use our phones, television, and shower. However, the surrounding city was not affected by the flood. We wanted to go to the surrounding city to buy food, but we could not because the flood was too high. In fact, we finished food in one day because we could not find more food. We survived by eating instant noodles.
Later on, some of my cousins lost their homes due to the flood. After the government announced the flood zones and shut down the electricity in some areas, my cousin realized that her house was in the red zone. Her house was located by the river, and it was below sea level. The house was a single-storey house. Thus, she did not have time to prepare, so her furniture was flooded. However, she was able to keep the important things and belongings. Then my cousin’s house was submerged. My cousin climbed to the rooftop to look around her neighborhood. Some people around her also were on the rooftops. People who lived in a two-storey house did not have a problem because they could stay on the second floor. All of the victims lived without electricity, toilets, food, and purified water. My cousin was lucky that my father sent help to take her to a safe place. After few weeks, the government sent people to rescue the rest of the victims. Some of them were safe, but some of them were injured or had already died. When the flood had gone, It left damage, debris, and sadness. The government struggled to support the victims. They paid compensation to my cousin and the victims. Still, it was not enough because she spent a lot of her money to renovate the new house.
At the time, It was difficult to go to work. The flood hit the main roads and the roads were closed because it was not safe to drive. Public transportation was also shut down. My colleague and I could not go to work because the water rose got to high level. We decided to walk through the flood to the company. The flood level was as high as my hip. It usually took me ten minutes to get there, but It took one hour to walk through the water. My company had announced that they were not going to close, so my colleague and I kept working. In the evening, my boss sent her staff with a small boat to drop me at my condominium to collect my clothes. Then I went back to stay in the company building. The Vice President of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited had announced to build the harbor in front of the company and named “Thai Airways Port”. During the time my colleague and I stayed in the company building, so we had food, purified water, a bathroom, and bedroom. We even had a chef to cook food for the staff. My colleague and I stayed in the company a week and then the water went down.
I will never forget the 2011 flood disaster in Thailand. At that time, It was a big issue that the government released the water, and how they managed the water system. If they had not released the water, the great dams could have broken because they were overloaded. After the flood was over, I understood how people feel when they lose everything. I know how it feels when life gets tough. It was not just one of the worst disasters. It was a learning experience that taught me may lessons including how to be patient, and how to survive when I am not with my family.