VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Crisis Watch: Floodwaters sweep through Thailand
October 27, 2011 by The IRC
|A man wades through a flooded street on the outskirts of Bangkok. Photo: Peter Biro/IRC|
After three months of steady monsoon rains, Thailand is battling its worst flooding in 50 years. Northern and central areas have been hardest hit, with some communities submerged under six to nine feet of water. Residents have been forced to use makeshift boats to navigate neighborhood streets.
The capital, Bangkok, is now under threat as runoff drains south to the sea. With northern districts already inundated, many other parts of the city could experience flood levels of up to five feet by this weekend if the Chao Phraya River bursts its banks. Floodwaters could linger for up to a month.
- 9 million people affected
- More than 360 killed
- More than 100,000 displaced
The IRC’s Response
The IRC is working with local authorities to assist some of the poorest people in Thailand to be affected by the devastation: Burmese refugees and migrant workers.
The IRC provides healthcare and other vital services to nearly 140,000 Burmese refugees in nine refugee camps along the Thailand-Myanmar border. While the camps have been spared the worst of the flooding, the IRC has been taking part in disaster preparedness planning and monitoring the potential spread of water-borne disease and other health hazards.
Some two million Burmese people live and work in Thailand and are a neglected and marginalized group in Thai society. Hundreds of factories have been inundated by floodwaters and thousands of mostly Burmese workers have lost their jobs and income. To ensure that they receive aid and attention, the IRC is pressing government officials and agencies to provide flood-stranded refugees and migrants with food, shelter and basic services.
Amid major flood disaster in Thailand, aiding Burmese refugees and migrants on the margins - story and photos from the IRC's Peter Biro in Bangkok