News / Asia

Thailand Flooding Threatens World Heritage Site

Flooded Wat Chai Chaiwattanaram temple in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand, October 4, 2011.
Flooded Wat Chai Chaiwattanaram temple in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand, October 4, 2011.
Daniel Schearf

Floods in Thailand have killed more than 200 people, destroyed farmland, and forced thousands to evacuate low-lying areas near rivers. Surging waters are now threatening a United Nations World Heritage site in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, which officials worry could suffer permanent damage.

Seventy-year-old Chaba is sitting in a blue metal canoe she borrowed and paddling to get home.

She has to duck as the canoe goes under the roof of her two-storey wooden house. The first floor is submerged under three meters of muddy flood water.

Chaba and her 20 relatives now live together on what was the second floor.

For food and water three times a day they have to make their way out of the neighborhood to a nearby relief tent.

They borrow a boat, catch a ride to a makeshift walkway, or wade through the water.

Some families in Chaba’s neighborhood float household appliances to dry ground using chunks of Styrofoam or crude rafts.

She says she has a big family so life is very difficult. She has no boat and had to swim to get here. She says they are almost out of food and there is no drinking water.

Chaba’s is one of hundreds of homes and businesses in Ayutthaya that were submerged after heavy rains burst river banks.

The centuries-old Chaiwattanaram temple lies along the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.

The river flooded and now the temple’s brick spires point out from what appears somewhat like an ancient swimming pool.

Chaiyannand Busayarat is director of the Ayutthaya Historical Park. Looking at the temple from a nearby busy bridge, he says they tried to pump out the water but there was nowhere for it to go.

He says they have stopped doing anything. After the situation is normal they will see how much damage there is and find some long-term measures to prevent this in the future.

The United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, says if the flooding gets worse the historic city’s World Heritage Sites on the other side of the river are at risk.

The U.N. agency has offered Thailand emergency assistance if requested.

A Royal Thai Navy patrol boat runs its engine in Bangkok’s Lad Poe Pier canal.

The grey metal boat is tied to a dock just inside the canal, which has been opened to divert water from the Chao Phraya River to the sea.

The navy has ordered large ships in the canal to run their motors most of the day to help push the waters out to sea.

Vice Admiral Taweewut Pongpipat says they are draining an extra five million cubic meters of water a day from the river.

“If more rain [there] may be the problem, " said Admiral Pongpipat. "Because, if more rain the water will come up. We pray. We pray no more rain.”

But Thai weather forecasters say more rains are expected in the coming days and the situation is likely to only get worse.

 

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs