Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flash Floods in Thailand

It happened again. Another flash flood in Thailand killing 38 people - all tourists. The meteorolgy department had said that heavy rains could cause flooding.

I blogged about a very similar event last year. Here is part of what I said (original post here):

A couple of years ago a flash flood occurred in a national park in Thailand which killed some people. The thing that first came to my mind when I heard the news was: what were these people doing in that area in the first place?

I grew up in the Midwest of America where we get many thunderstorms and flash floods. People around there know that if the weatherman gives a flash flood warning, then you get out of the low lying areas because you cannot outrun the water.

My reaction this time was the same "what were they doing there?" Here is what I said about the solution:

I think the answer is that the public needs to be involved. When I say "involved" I do not only mean teaching people about hazards and how to respond, but also in getting people to make the government give them information, force tour operators to not go to areas when danger threatens, and prevent buildings from being setting up in dangerous areas (for example flood plains or vulnerable shorelines).

Frankly, something must change. The meteorolgy department here in Thailand does not take weather seriously. And the people do not either. Backpackers and the like respect nature and learn to know when there is a dangerous situation. Others must learn this also.

If you are going into parks or similar areas, or if you are a tour operator, please pay attention to the weather.

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