- (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)
Thai officials sent caravans carrying fresh water to weary residents in Bangkok coping with unsanitary conditions as flood-soaked neighborhoods remained filled with mounds of uncollected trash and no electricity or running water.
The supplies come as a welcome relief to residents in northern Bangkok who lived for weeks in dirty, chest-deep waters.
Water was bubbling up from the city’s sewers for weeks, mixing floodwaters with raw sewage, according to reports. Many residents chose to ride the surging waters and they are now trapped in the contaminated waters, unable to evacuate and flee the polluted area.
Stagnant waters are releasing pungent smells and attracting swarms of mosquitoes, though no major disease outbreaks are reported yet, according to reports.
Thai officials previously attempted to fight the disease-riddled waters by dropping thousands of purifying balls into the flooded areas.
The latest efforts focus on eliminating the problem. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered supply trucks into the flood-stricken neighborhoods, Thai News Agency reported.
The relief caravan consisted of 32 trucks carrying clean drinking water, 80 garbage trucks, and vehicles carrying 300 water filters and food trucks, the TNA reported.
To help relieve the unsanitary sewage problem in the northern neighborhoods, Thai officials sent 100 trucks carrying floating toilets to be used until floodwaters drain. More than 1,000 portable toilets were also sent.
Thai official also sent in 60 trucks carrying doctors and other health officials along with 800 busses to help move flood victims to safer ground, the TNA reported.
Officials also ordered nearly 1,000 boats into blooded neighborhoods to help ease relief efforts.
Since flooding began, more than 500 people died, more than 100,000 are displaced, and thousands of businesses closed.
Health officials hope to stave a larger humanitarian crisis by stopping the spread of disease before it can take root in the stagnant floodwaters in Thailand.
"It's definitely a big challenge because of the quantity or mass of water that's coming through. I don't think we've ever had to deal with such large amounts of water," said Rekha Hanvesakul, a doctor at BNH Hospital in Bangkok.