Here are the facts I have distilled down and continue to update so far.
By December 2011 the floods were still affecting over 4.4 million people in 83 districts of 10 provinces, 63 out of 76 provinces have been affected.
Duration: Going on 5 months plus, some areas have been in inundated the whole time. This is the worst flooding in 50 years for Thailand, but probably much more strongly felt economically in this current time.
Death Toll: 800 plus, many from electrocution. This is a real tragedy since much of this could have been prevented.
Affected and Non Affected Areas: Bangkok is now free and clear. We are not sure which provinces are still under water but we know that some, especially North and West of Bangkok are still inundated and the people are still suffering.
Major tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Ko Samui are all flood free. Ayutthaya is said to be working to clean up, but there have been reports of problems with foul odors and dirt.
Leading the Fight: Newly elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who has no prior governmental experience. She has admitted to being exhausted in the fight and many claim that she has been publicly on the verge of tears many times yet she continues to fight on. Internal fighting between the Bangkok governor and the national government has played out in the media.
Inner Bangkok Dry: inner Bangkok and the main airport will stay dry, but many of the surrounding areas have been under water for four months and residents had been growing restless and sometimes even combative.
Areas still under water and worse hit include Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Pathom.
People flying into Bangkok and then connecting to other flights should have no trouble at this time. The old airport, Don Muang, is currently under water. Flights originating there have been relocated to the main airport.
Clean Up: Many residents faced huge piles of mud, black mold, and water lines in their homes with little to no resources that can be used to clean up. Currently, Bangkok alone is collecting about 13,400 tonnes of post-flood garbage per day, compared to the usual 8,500 tonnes. A large amount of garbage was damaged furniture, hence officials had arranged 100 trucks to remove the furniture.
Crocodiles and Green Mamba Snakes (Nonthaburi-Pak Kret District) were reported to have escaped into certain flooded areas and there are hunters out looking for them. The snake story was debunked by the government but they still offered a reward for captured mambas. The Fishery Department reported 400 complaints seeking officials’ help to capture crocodiles from flood-affected areas in Bangkok and Nonthaburi alone. Officials had managed to capture 12 crocodiles.
Industrial manufacturing parks for large electronics and automobiles were underwater which haulted all production and affected global supply chains. Tens of thousands of factories have been affected which has had an effect on the global supply chain especially noted in the area of computer hard drives.
The Thai school term was delayed, with more than 3,000 schools damaged.
Pattaya and Hua Hin: Tens of thousands of Bangkok residents had moved into outlying areas like Pattaya and Hua Hin to escape the floods which didn’t make them very tourist friendly places if you count crowding as a factor.
Living Day to Day: Those most vulnerable citizens were those who can’t afford to evacuate. Most Thai people live day to day financially, especially street vendors and small shop owners. Migrant workers and those in slum communities were the most at risk.
Standing Waters: Flood waters contained raw sewage, garbage, and industrial wastes. These waters could have eventually affected tap water supplies and open the door for many types of diseases and skin conditions.
Flooding had disrupted food and water supply chains making it harder for stores to stay fully stocked even in other parts of Thailand.
Animals and Farming: Multitudes of animals and livestock have drowned in the floods. One report stated that millions of chickens drowned.
Huge portions of farming land have been ruined (12 million rai) along with at least 15% of the rice harvest.
Economy: The long term affects of this flood on the Thai economy could be disastrous.
An initial 100 billion baht, or $3.2 billion, has been pledged by the Thai government to rebuild roads, homes and hospitals.
$10 million of aid has been promised by the United States.
It was expected that at the end of this year, tourist numbers would be down by at least 900,000 persons, an estimated loss of Bt35 billion for Thailand’s tourism industry.
These massive floods have been compared to a slow moving shallow tsunami coming from the North.
Faith: Public ceremonies had been held to pray and make offerings to the “water goddess”, but this has obviously been futile. Thai Christian churches and NGO’s have been delivering much needed food and supplies by boat to those affected since the start of the major flooding. They have been rallying around their neighbors and helping them clean up their homes regardless of religious orientation.
Pray for Thailand especially for those who are still suffering. May Almighty God have mercy on this land and her people.