Accessibility links

Thai Animators Mix Entertainment, Flood Information

  • Daniel Schearf

Thailand's RooSuFlood animated series educates the public on what do to in case of flooding.

Thailand's RooSuFlood animated series educates the public on what do to in case of flooding.

Thailand’s ongoing struggle against record flooding has been complicated by often contradictory statements from officials. To help calm a panicky public, a group of young Thai animators created a cartoon series to simplify flood information and help people prepare. The animated series RooSuFlood has become a hit on television and the web.

Thailand’s devastating floods caught many people unprepared, leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands homeless.

As authorities struggle to fend off waters closing in on the Thai capital, Bangkok, ordinary people are being swamped with mixed messages.

Officials with the national government and the capital city government have often contradicted each other in assessing the threat to Bangkok.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has struggled with a consistent message.

Last week, she said if there is no more water coming in, it might not get seriously flooded in Bangkok.

Several days later, she had starkly different advice.

She says in Bangkok, people might have to adjust to using boats instead of cars.

As officials alternate between overly optimistic and overly pessimistic scenarios, the public is left wondering what to do.

To cut through the confusion, and calm down a worried public, a group of young animators got together to create RooSuFlood.

“Know and Fight Flood” is an animated series of public service announcements designed to educate while keeping the audience entertained.

Subtitles in English also help foreigners wanting to know more about the situation, says Thawatchai Saengthamchai, one of the series’ creators.

He says there is a flood of information with academics saying this, the media saying that, the government saying another thing and people on the street saying something completely different. He says the air is full of confused voices without anything to organize the information.

To illustrate the magnitude of the crisis, RooSuFlood depicts Bangkok’s encroaching flood waters as 50 million blue whales.

The animated series shows the whales trying to make their way out to sea through Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River and crisscrossing canals only to spill out onto the streets and into people’s homes.

Several students and recent graduates sit in front of their computers in a modern, glass-walled gray building.

Volunteer animator Sipparpad Krongraksa was flooded out of his house and, for now, he not only works at the office but also lives here.

He says normally he would be sitting around in his room watching TV, but he feels that there are a lot of people who are in trouble and Ru Su Flood allows him to be more useful to society.

As floodwaters slowly spread in to central Bangkok, the series turned to dealing with getting flooded and evacuating safely.

Among the tips for leaving your home: pack a life jacket, plug your toilets with sandbags, and carry a large stick if you should be unlucky enough to meet a crocodile while evacuating.