Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ubon Ratchathani Floods 2011 Thailand.

Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
I went for a ride to see how the floods were here in Ubon Ratchathani. Last weekend I went out and took a couple of pictures but this week I wanted to speak to some people.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
This is a tent city. Small tents have turned into peoples’ homes along the edges of roads that snake their way close to the river. There are mobile toilets and also showers set up for all the people to share.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
This is Nim and her family. Nim is the lady in the blue t-shirt second from right. They have been in the tent for nearly a month and up to ten people sleep here. Most years their house near the river will flood but only the bottom floor of their two storey home. This year it is completely under, the first time in many years she said.

They said the tents keep them dry most of the time, but they still get wet in the very heavy rain and it gets very hot inside. They have a fan and some roll out beds. I would say they are only around 8ft by 6ft at the most.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
These houses I would say are about 200mtrs or a little further from Ubon’s river, The Moon (The Mun).
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
There are boats here to transport people back and forward. Some are still living in their houses on the second floors.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
It is the same picture in another area. Tents are set up and some families are living in these small shelters.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Again I was met with smiling and happy faces. Plenty of people wanted to say, “hello” and have a chat. This is Ko who is only 18 and his partner. They have been in their shelter close to a month. They said they were fine and it wasn’t as bad as others were worse off than them. People had died in other parts of Thailand and lost their houses and land washed away. He is a young father and is working, so most days he is away from the tent but his partner stays with their child.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
The boats are lined up for people to go back and forward to their homes. Most will sleep on the second levels of their homes at night but through the day come out for food and to watch TV as most have no power.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
These men were all enjoying Muay Thai boxing on TV. Some were very merry and I had to happily decline the offer of having a drink of Thailand’s finest rice whiskey or Low Kaow. I escaped with the excuse of I had to ride my motorbike and couldn’t be drunk. Thankfully it worked.

I spoke to the guy on the right of the picture with one hand up. His name was Chitiya and he said 168 houses were flooded in the area affecting about 380 people. Most are living upstairs until the floods recede.

He said this was the worst flood in around 10 years, but the one about ten years ago was a lot worse. I found out how much worse later on.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
The main road heading into Ubon City has tents lined all the way along it.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
This lady and her daughter were being taken back to their house.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Everywhere I went kids were playing in the water, making their own fun. I am an old worry wart. The water was dirty in many places, littered with rubbish but what I worried about the most is the sewerage. There are no sewer mains but everyone has septic tanks. Maybe I just worry too much.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
The temple and it’s large what are like an urn as they hold the ashes and bones of deceased are under water.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
More houses under water.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
This is down past Ubon Ratchathani’s prison. It is off Soi 9 and right near Wat Kut Kool วัดกุดคูณ. The man in the boat is called Bom.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Bom was telling me that 10 years ago, the last time in the big flood he couldn’t even stay in his house on the second floor. He pointed on the temple wall to a spot about a foot under the top and said that is where the water was back then.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Another family made their way to dry land and I had been wondering about the tyres in the water. I found out that they stop the longtail boats. And the older lady's face was priceless as the boat come to a sudden stop.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
This is the golf driving range just down from Benchama School, if you know Ubon then you will know where I mean.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
This is the road that hooks onto what I call the ring road or highway 231, it comes out at Ubon University.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Some rode in and quickly turned around when they found it a little too deep.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
While others just didn’t seem to care for their motorbikes and pushed through.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
They were just about to start pumping the water out from the flooded road, it is sand bagged but obviously is leaking in places.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
People just went on with their daily life, here and mother and daughter strolled on by, off along the flooded road.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
I had walked back to my motorbike and heard the sound of a siren and sure enough an ambulance was making its way through and thankfully did without any problems.
Floods Ubon Ratchathani Thailand 2011
In Ubon there are plenty of people that have been affected by the floods. But what amazed me was their resilience and how generous they were.

I was offered food and drink, not only alcohol but water and soft drink by so many people. Most seemed happy and not too worried about not being able to return home for a bit longer yet.

There have been more warnings in the paper today of heavy rain and flash flooding for the north east of Thailand. Today was a beautiful day, cloudy but warm. I do hope they are wrong and the rain stays away so all the tent people like Nim and her family can move back into their homes.

I met some really nice people today and look forward to returning in a week or two and checking on their progress.

Brunty

11 comments:

MJ Klein said...

Brunty, some fine reporting, and as usual, great documentary photos of the situation. we'd like to know if the downtown area is flooded, and also about your house. we know from reading your blog that the street outside your house tends to flood. so what is your personal situation? thanks.

Brunty said...

Hey MJ, thanks for the kind words mate and the camera does the job better than words.

Downtown Ubon is fine. It is mostly places in low areas near the main river and also the tributaries that run in are just overflowing and more water is expected from reports.

The water at my place just backs up as all the drains fill in the area and then back up and my street is at the bottom of many little streets and all the water runs down and then makes my own little river.

The worst I had was one step to go before it was on the front porch area; I was starting to worry a little that day.

I am fine my friend and thanks for the concern.

Brunty

Harold said...

Great photos! These pictures really show the extent of the flooding [those one-story homes completely under water]. Hard to believe that there was a worst flood in recent memory.

The folks in the tent city are much more resilient than I would be, and they have a much more positive attitude...

Regards from Ken C.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brunty,
This is Jon from Nakhom Phanom. Great pictures and reporting on the floods in Ubon Ratchatani. It is refreshing to see what Thailand is known for "Land of Smiles" in the people in your pictures. I hope you and your family are OK and your house is not in danger of the floods. Great post and keep up the good work,
Take Care,
Jon

Steve said...

Thanks so much for the fine report. Your pics & text say so much about the impressive resilience of the people affected by the floods.

Snap said...

Brunty, a really insightful picturmentary of what's going on down your way...and a very eerie photo of the temple grounds. The (smiles and) resilience of the people here is amazing. I hope they're high and dry soon. We've still been spared, still, of any serious flooding in Chiang Mai...touch wood.

PS. I'm a bit of a worry wart too ;)

Brunty said...

Hi Harold, I was surprised as well as I have only been here 6 years but when Bom showed me how high the water was 10 years ago, I was a little aghast. I thought this flood was bad and causing enough problems, back ten years ago I think most of Ubon would have been a lake.

I was amazed at how positive people were, they were happy to chat and wanted to take me in their boats to see their houses. I was offered food and drink each time I stopped somewhere.

Hey Jon, I always find the people who have the bare minimum, especially here in Ubon are so generous. We are fine and well away from the river. I just hope it stops raining up-country so the water will recede.

Steve, the people are so resilient as if I was in their shoes I know I would be bitching and moaning my ass off, it makes you feel like an ass when you see people like this and I complain at stupid insignificant things.

Hey Snap, they were really amazing people and look forward to going back and seeing them next weekend hopefully. Well actually if I didn’t see them I would be happy, that is if they had been able to go home but I doubt it with all the rain about.

I only worry about things like the sewerage as I can only imagine the diseases and how sick the kids could become. If they were in clean water and clowning around having a ball I wouldn’t blink.

Thanks for dropping by all.

Brunty

Anonymous said...

thank you for the pictures and your comments, I am worried about my folks in Ubon and in Det Udom and have little information better than this... which helps.
Wim

Anonymous said...

Hi Brunty,

I am thankfull for your Blog. Not only on the flood but generally. As i am away from Ubon most of the year, it`s nice to see have a perspective on the things in Thailand.

Thanks again for all your work
Tony

Anonymous said...

Wasdee ka Brunty

Well done & Fantastic job & keep up with your great work.I am originally from Ubonratchathani. My mum lives there.I'm dead worried about her now.
Thanks again for sharing with us. Take care.
Soraya

Chang Yai said...

now with everyone just talking about Bangkok, and everywhere else forgotten.... hope you guys are doing well. would be nice to read an update. I have no clue what's happened in Ubon since.