Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra announced today 11 areas of northern Bangkok are officially flood-free. Good news for these areas — Chatuchak, Lat Phrao, Lak Si, Bueng Khum, Chom Thong, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok Noi, Bang Phlad, Phasi Charoen, Bang Khun Thian and Bang Bon — but not such great news for places like Rangsit and Bang Bua Thong, now heading into their third month of floods.
Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, meanwhile says she’s confident the rest of Bangkok will be completely dry by New Year’s Eve, and is adding more pumps to some areas to hasten the draining of flood water. But, even when these areas are finally dry, clean-up will be hell.
Chatuchak, my area of Bangkok, is one of the now flood-free areas. Rangsit, my boyfriend’s area, isn’t so lucky. His house flooded on October 28th and, as of two days ago, it’s still under 40 centimeters of water (almost a foot and a half of water), but it is falling slowly. He left the house on October 28th, sandbagged and locked up, as he had a tour group arriving from America (he’s a tour guide) and knew if he didn’t leave as the water started to rise, he wouldn’t be able to get out of his neighborhood at all.
Now, six weeks later, he’s hoping he’ll be able to wade in this week, check on the damage, and then get to work repairing and renovating.
But, there are two main problems homeowners all over northern Bangkok are experiencing, and my boyfriend is expecting the same.
Many do-it-yourself and home repair items are simply not available, as flooded factories in large parts of Thailand have not been able to distribute the parts to the city’s home improvement stores.
On top of that, when hundreds of thousands of homes all over Bangkok and beyond have suffered catastrophic flood damage, just imagine how long it’s going to take to get a plumber, carpenter, bricklayer, or air-conditioning specialist to fix things.
More than 2.2 million people in Bangkok alone were affected, including my best friend, Sree. She ended up with a few inches of water in her kitchen, lucky compared to most, but because ot it her water pump no longer works and taking a shower is murder, as water pressure is none existent. When she called her usual pump expert yesterday he told her, “The good news is…..I can easily fix it. The bad news? How does two weeks sound, and is there any way you can shop for parts?
Sure, Bangkok may finally be flood-free by New Year, but needed renovations and repairs will be going on a lot longer than that. In fact, things will probably be finished in most areas of Bangkok by August — just in time for next year’s flood season to begin.