Flooding in Thailand: A Human Problem

A recent New York Times article written by Seth Mydans analyzes the causes of the disastrous flooding currently occurring in Thailand. While this series of flooding had been deemed some of the worst in over half a century as it engulfs cites, businesses, and temples alike; it is by no means an isolated event as flooding such as this has been quite common in Thailand over the past few decades. To make matters worse, researchers and scientists say that this won’t be the last of the flooding either. In fact, the people of Thailand may be looking at flooding occurring again as early as next year. Worst of all, as bad as this information is, it would not be fair to say that this flooding is due to simple bad luck or even the wrath of Mother Nature. Rather it is caused by the human factor; specifically, the negligent and ineffective practices of Thailand officials.

So, why are people blaming the government? Experts say that the monsoons are only part of the problem; the real problem is deforestation combined with the over-building in water collection areas and the damming of natural waterways. Yet, despite the constant and continual warnings by environmentalists and scientists, the government refuses to listen and meanwhile thousands of people are being driven away from homes they may never return too and many more are losing a thing far more precious. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is not isolated to Thailand. Much of the surrounding area is experiencing many of the same problems for the same reasons. Flooding in the areas of Cambodia and Vietnam alone has led to nearly 300 deaths just this year. Granted, the monsoons in the area are part of the problem, but the biggest setback is poor government leadership. There is no logic behind building large cities in low altitude areas famous for collecting water and there is even less logic for making the same mistake twice, let alone five or six times. The international community as a whole needs to start changing policies likes these. While it may not seem like it, I do not think it would be going too far to say that this callous behavior borders on human rights violations. Granted, this may be a little extreme, but what else can one call such callous and irresponsible behavior. International pressure with bite may be the only way of dealing with this problem. As a final note, just to be fair, this problem is not just limited to Thailand and the surrounding areas.  This is a global problem and its devastating effects can be seen all over the world.

One comment

  1. While this event is certainly tragic and should serve as a wake up call to the international community that these environmental issues affect everyone, it is unlikely to do so. Without the United States as a leader, or at least being on bored, the success of an international treaty to stop this behavior would probably fail. Currently, the United States can’t even deal with it’s own environmental issues. The president recently forced the EPA to sit on a clean air regulation as it was very controversial. In light of the upcoming election environmental issues are going to be put on the back burner in favor of the economy. I don’t know how long it will be before politicians realize the importance of these issues and put them in the forefront.

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