The vast region of Southeast Asia suffered this year from the most devastating monsoon since 50 years. There are major floods in northern and central Thailand and a large part of Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines.
My friend Philippe Tetu recounted the situation in Bangkok. “Bangkok is on the verge of flooding but there is nothing done yet, the water level today and for the next 2 days (level of sea, river) is at the top so it’s not helping. The big problem is the water coming from other flooded cities and people must evacuate somewhere. For now everything is ok. I was going to do a bike ride to see the worst places to shoot some picture. In the worse scenario I have gotten water to the knee and it was on the edge of the river in the very low areas“.
We should not amplify the situation, but it denotes hundreds of death in Cambodia and northern Thailand. It’s a disaster, and the repercussions of this situation have not finished affecting the locals and the rest of the world.
There were a million of individuals affected and hundreds of thousands forced to move and the number continues to rise. 172 people died (most of them drowned). The majority of the population that is severely affected are poor farmers and their families.[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/28884166[/vimeo]
Car and electronics factories around South East Asia and India are affected by the floods and are forced to close due to lack of crucial parts from their supplier located mainly in Thailand. Honda Motor Co and Canon have ceased their production operations in Thailand. Many other major manufacturers including Nikon, Toyota, Pioneer and Sony, to name a few, have reported a slowdown in production due of supply difficulties.
More seriously the United Nations is monitoring closely at the possibility of serious food shortages in many parts of Southeast Asia after the flood devastated rice paddies and other crops. Around 12.5% of rice farms in Thailand have been damaged as well as 12% of its counterparts in Cambodia, 7.5% in Laos and a little less than 1% in Vietnam since the beginning of heavy rainfall in the month of September. Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice. Thailand alone provides 31% of the 34.2 million tonnes metric of the world exchange every year on the market.
The price of food especially rice, which is the main meal in Asia may rise dramatically due to its low availability and its high demand. Already in February the price index of food of the United Nations has broken record for 55 aliments including cereals, meat and dairy products.
The tourist season in Thailand and South East Asia starts after the monsoon in December. But the daunting images of these floods that ravaged several provinces of the kingdom and her neighbours discouraged tourists.But the main attractions (with the exception of Ayutthaya) were not affected by the floods. The southern islands of Thailand such as Phuket, Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi stay dry.
There is also a deluge of rumour and misinformation spreading panic in the air. Bangkok under the threat of crocodiles and snakes. “Taking advantage of the floods, for weeks, ravaging Thailand, hound had escaped from a crocodile farm, located in Pattaya, a few hundred kilometres from Bangkok.” Forget the urban legend king kong never exist
Do not be fooled by the media, we are at the end of October; the rains have slowed down last week, it is sunny and hot during the day. No need to fear, people will need your visits to help their economies get back on track. In short, no reason to cancel your trip, go to the Land of Smiles smiling.
This post is also available in: French