I popped out to see how people were preparing for the forthcoming flood – the atmosphere is a little like I imagine it would be in a city in which a besieging army is approaching: apprehension mixed with uncertainty.
The subway system is closed, presumably for several days.
The Skytrain is still active and people are going about their daily business (these photos are from the Viphawadi-Rangsit Road to Ari station) – even people doing quite well in the city can find their livelihood swiftly draining away with even a few days of inactivity: margins are slight. So, where there are vulnerable entry points like drains (water can come up as well as down), sandbags are being used:
For shops and houses which are not banked up (most have slopes of up to a metre or more – our house also does), temporary concrete screens are still being put up:
In the case of larger buildings which are built flush with street level, sandbag walls have been constructed (at some cost, I can testify given how much I had to pay for the things):
No one really knows how high the waters will be, if they do in fact come. The newspapers, presumably relaying official information, suggest we might in our area get half a metre, although it might be higher in Lad Prao, since that is a low area. One metre would bring the water to our front door, I should think.
We will be going home early to make some preparations. People whose memory dates back to the floods of the past imagine that it is all going to be as terrible as those events were – perhaps it will be. This is a force of nature with which it is difficult to contend.
Based on what is happening in supermarkets, most people seem to be planning to survive on a diet of sardines on toast. With eggs. And Ma Ma cup noodles, too, as usual.
Of course, there are many rumours going about that the army has refused to help and certain highly-placed, named (but not by me) officials have deliberately mismanaged the crisis with a view to undermining the government and bringing about yet another military coup. There are also rumours that military personnel were responsible for blowing the dikes which caused the flooding of the Ayutthaya and Nava Nakhon Industrial Estates, for the same purpose and because the government refused to declare a State of Emergency – usually, the drop of a hat is enough for a State of Emergency to be declared, which is the signal for the military to start paying each other big bonuses, occupying the resources of the country, score-settling and so forth.
Is it true? Well, as Sir Humphrey would observe, it is true that they are rumours.