Pattaya long-timers said the storm that hit the city on Sept. 2 was the worst in years. The one on Sept. 8 was even worse.
Hovering over Thailand, it wrecked Pattaya and Jomtien beaches, downed trees, power lines and cellphone towers, and flooded everything in between. It usually takes only an hour of rain to flood Pattaya. This monsoon dumped 10 hours of rain on the city and might not be finished yet.
In the Wat Boonkanjanaram Community, water was still more than a meter deep the evening of Sept. 8, hours after the rain stopped. More than 100 homes over a seven rai area were damaged, with the current carrying away personal property, and electrical appliances ruined.
While some moved to higher ground, many women, children, and older people were stuck in their houses and could only leave via boat. Kind landlords provided alternative shelter.
Those who did escape pitched tents on hills to keep an eye on their motorcycles, cars and houses in case looters tried to exploit the disaster.
In Jomtien Beach, the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation deployed its marine task force – usually only active on the open sea – to flooded streets to rescue stranded homeowners.
Rescuers also used off-road vehicles and heavy equipment to reach people cut off from society.
Other volunteers responded to the crisis, delivering food, drinking water and daily necessities to those washed out of their homes. Pattaya City Hall brought in portable toilets.
Longtime residents said the water level was the highest they could recall in 10 years. They feared snakes and crocodiles might be swimming in the floodwaters, which they also complained were polluted and unhealthy. Some feared live electrical current might get carried in the runoff, electrocuting them.