In Bangkok, one thousand residents rallied Sunday at the sluice gate of the Sam Wa canal to protest the government’s decision to protect industrial machinery instead of residential communities, as encroaching water floods various areas of Thailand’s metropolitan capital.
Thailand relies on industrial production as a major source of income – supplying countries with products of hard hitters such as Apple, Toyota, and Honda, as well as various factories producing plastics, fertilizers, and furniture.
The Honda Company announced Monday that it would temporarily cut production at its six plants in Canada and the U.S. due to the flood waters, which are currently incapable of providing necessary supplies.
Tension continues to build as floodwaters hit the northern suburbs of the city. However, the beloved heart of the city, central Bangkok, remains fairly dry, surrounded by a fortress of sandbags and guarded by soldiers.
The protest at the canal carried on into Monday, when fed-up citizens dug a channel into the dyke located in the northern, and predominately Muslim Ms. Boonsom’s neighborhood, the gates of which protect the Bang Chan Industrial Estate.
This was done in an attempt to alleviate the flooding which is greatly affecting Ms. Boonsom’s neighborhood, but carving a channel into the dyke could result in the flooding and destruction of the industrial estate.
“Right now the government has overlooked people’s difficulties. They view it as something less significant than seeking a loan of more than 800-billion-baht to build up a new Thailand even though half of the country is still under water,” Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut told Pattaya Today.
The government acquiesced the peoples’ demands, partially opening the Sam Wa canal yesterday by a meter. While some are complacent with the small opening, as it has already spared neighborhoods of waist-high floodwater, others argue that the entire gate should open up, as to alleviate those within the flood zone receiving most of the water’s unyielding slack.
"We are opposed to it but the government has ordered the BMA to open the gate, so more water will come," Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) spokesperson Jate Sopitpongstorn told Reuters.
"It could reach the Bang Chan industrial estate. We have to see the consequences," he added.
Tempers heightened Friday, Oct. 28, when the government denied a plan to build channels into five major roads in eastern Bangkok, which would subsequently direct floodwaters out of the city toward the sea.
Fear continues today as deputy city governor Thirachon Manomaipiboon confirmed that once designated “safe zones” now pose potential risk for flooding.
“Previously, we thought that 19 districts might not experience flooding but now none of them will be safe," he said.
The northern Monsoon, which is expected during this time of year, has worked its way down Thailand over the past two months, beginning in the northern communities of Chiang Mai and Pai, and now hitting Bangkok. The flooding is the worst the country has seen in decades, and 400 people have died as a result of the floods. The rains will eventually die out as they make their way into the ocean south of Bangkok.