Prolonged tropical monsoons, freak storms, torrential rains and massive floods have devastated a vast wasteland of Southeast Asia, resulting in a tragic loss of lives and livelihoods, killing 745 people – a quarter of them children – in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Up to a million ill-fated victims remain under threat of traumatic emotional stress, in urgent need of emergency aid relief and compassionate humanitarian support assistance.
At least 370 flood-related deaths have been reported in Thailand, mostly from drowning, and about one-third of the rural countryside remains heavily submerged, cutting off roads; destroying homes, businesses, crops, livestock; endangering the vital infrastructure; and leaving entire isolated villages underwater. The contaminated overflow has caused untold damage to treasured ancient heritage site ruins, inundating industrial zone factories built in low-lying areas, negatively impacting upon vital tourism revenue and cutting Thailand’s GNP (Gross National Product) projections by as much as 2%.
Generous cash donations and corporate bank-deposited contributions from Thais-helping-Thais have been supplemented by 40,000 military troops, provincial hospices and educational institutions serving as relocation centers, thousands of kind-hearted volunteers and enabling neighborhood support groups. Unified emergency response efforts have joined forces with U.N. bodies, the Red Cross, Royal foundations and NGOs to buy and deliver flat bottom boats, drinking water, essential foodstuff and floating latrines, but these stopgap measures still foresee glaring difficult-to-solve problems lying ahead.
Given climate change, sinking land mass, deforestation, unregulated urban sprawl and decades of short-sighted negligent human indifference, the logical conclusion is that we cannot escape the wrath of nature avenging longstanding abusive treatment. Modern excessive lifestyles and the obsession with progress at any cost must learn to accommodate, adjust and adapt to rapidly-changing times in our ever-shrinking interconnected and mutually dependent hi-tech IT www. The future forecast analysis raises fears that the current surging floodgates deluge most probably represents a prelude to even more severe unnatural catastrophes and that the worst is yet to come.
We must, therefore, face harsh true facts with resolute common sense determination by developing contingency workable Action Plans featuring a regional framework utilizing innovative state-of-the-art approaches and streamlined procedures to deal with water management and water conservation. All members of our global family must join together in a unified willingness to resolve Have versus Have Not inequities with pragmatic optimism and resilient can do, will do positive energy attitudes to make our endangered planet a safer and saner place to pass on to our beloved offspring.
Dr. Charles Frederickson,