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Why Yingluck Shinawatra’s Government Is Correct in Ordering Flooding of Eastern Bangkok

Yingluck Shinawatra in meeting about Thai floods - coopyright Yingluck's Facebook

 

With water continuing to head into Bangkok from norther provinces already under massive flooding, Thai prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has had to make what some would say is an almost impossible decision. Does she let the water take it’s natural course, in effect flooding most of central Bangkok. Or, does she choose an area of Bangkok with less people than heavily-populated central Bangkok, and an area that can possibly be used to funnel flood water into the sea, and divert the flood water there? Thus potentially sacrificing the homes of several hundred thousand people.

That she has chosen to do the latter, and possibly flood much of eastern Bangkok has some Bangkokians up in arms. But, if you look at her choices, to anyone with any intelligence, it’s obvious she made the right one.

The government has currently ordered all flood water coming from the north to be held at various sluice gates, until they could make the safest decision. The water is continuing to rise and, every hour, it becomes more likely a dam will burst, a flood wall will collapse and the water will hit all of Bangkok full force.

So, Yingluck made the decision to release massive amounts of flood water over the next few days and direct it towards eastern Bangkok. This will likely result in a large area of eastern Bangkok being under several meters of water but, as sad as this is, it really was her only choice.

The alternative, the choice she didn’t make, would put most of central Bangkok under water. As this area of the city is where most people live, where most businesses — national and international — operate, and where relief efforts are being run from, if Khun Yingluck was to allow central Bangkok to flood, just to save people in the eastern areas, the economy of Thailand would collapse and all those people complaining about their homes being flooded wouldn’t have jobs, as their places of business would also be under water.

In times of a national crisis, a prime minister makes the tough decisions. A smart one weighs up the benefits to society as a whole, and decides which of many bad choices will negatively affect the least number of people. A very smart one ignores the needs of the few to benefit the many.

That releasing water over the next few days will probably hurt a lot of people in eastern Bangkok is sad. But, if Yingluck Shinawatra had chosen the alternative, and put most of Bangkok under water, she would not only have been harming the up to 10 million people who live there, but the other 53 million who live everywhere else in Thailand and depend on a strong Thai economy to survive.

The massive floods in Thailand are not a political issue, although many Democrat supporters are trying to make it so. It’s a national crisis that needs to be solved by every Thai, and foreigner, working together to solve the problems, and not waste their time bickering over “who’s to blame”.

Because after all, let’s face it, a government that’s been in power for barely two months, and was not even in power when the original fooding began in July, is not the one to take blame for the ineptitude of tens of Thai governments over the last 25 years. They were the ones who decided to do nothing about future flooding, even though they were faced with overwhelming evidence it was a 100% guaranteed certainty.

Yingluck Shinawatra’s government was dealt one of the worst hands possible. That she’s still making smart decisions, under overwhelming opposition, shows once again what a good choice most Thais made when they voted for her.