During the last twelvemonth. many Asiatic states have witnessed implosion therapy. including Bangladesh. China. India. Japan. Laos. North Korea. Pakistan. Thailand. the Philippines and Singapore. The economic harm has varied significantly – childs in Singapore but really significant in Thailand. The inundations have one time once more brought the twin issues of catastrophe direction and development to center phase. With climate alteration and its effects expected to increase the magnitude of water-related catastrophes. it is of import to rethink why some of the current inundation catastrophes turned out to be unwieldy. with unprecedented human and material losingss. Flooding is older than world. and H2O. whether in surplus or in scarceness. has ever been of concern to worlds. traveling back to the scriptural narrative of Noah’s Ark. Important civilizations emerged on the Bankss of major rivers like the Nile. the Tigris-Euphrates and the Ganges-Brahmaputra. for the handiness of H2O and fertile dirts guaranting plentiful nutrient. With the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. the outgrowth of metropoliss became an of import tendency. However. populating on riversides leads to jobs.
Historically. for Asia. inundations have been a regular and built-in constituent in the life. Because Thailand’s recent inundations inflicted such societal. economic and environmental costs. it is necessary to reflect on the jobs and lessons learnt. so that the state of affairs is non repeated in Thailand or other Asiatic states. Bangkok is built on the Bankss of the Chao Phraya. and its being is closely linked with the river. The metropolis benefitted from the river. its fertile delta and its port. and has emerged as an of import economic and commercial hub. Experience taught the people of Thailand a resiliency that should be saluted. Traditional houses were located at the borders of canals and were constructed on wooden piles. However. new concrete lodging abandoned the usage of piles. The projecting off of this centuries-old tradition to be replaced by modern building patterns – but without accommodating them to local conditions – was the first error. The 2nd error was to set up industrial composites in inundation fields and low-lying countries. Flood fields are ideal for agribusiness. but industrial composites should non hold been established in inundation fields. or they should hold received necessary inundation protection steps.
Industrial estates in Thailand have been hit the hardest. Over 800 mills in seven estates have been affected. Computer difficult discs. a one-fourth of which are produced in Thailand. are already seeing an addition in monetary value globally. The car sector is besides witnessing production cuts. The country’s economic growing prognosis has been reduced from 4. 1 per cent to 2. 6 per cent by the Bank of Thailand. The cost of the catastrophe has been cautiously estimated at US $ 44 billion. It is now estimated that $ 72 billion will hold to be invested for inundation protection substructure. without which investors are non likely to return because of possible hereafter inundation menaces and the handiness of other investing locations. It is non merely the industrial losingss that are unreassuring. It is the human dimension of the catastrophe that will hold reverberations for a drawn-out period.
The inundation put 660. 000 occupations at hazard because of mill closings. Already there is talk of some industries traveling to other states. The loss in human life went beyond the 500 grade. The calamity is that development is supposed to be for the benefit of the people ; nevertheless. people for whom this development was undertaken were left submerged. The 3rd error was therefore an unsustainable development theoretical account that chiefly considered short-run fiscal benefits but non long-run societal and economic costs. The 4th error was the type of research that has been undertaken by establishments and universities. How is it that so many scientists and bookmans failed to calculate the reaching of the inundation catastrophe? Is it because they have been building and playing with unreal theoretical accounts that have small relevancy to reality? Or is it because they knew but did non talk out for assorted grounds? Either manner. it has been an expensive error. ensuing in serious human costs.
The first lesson from this sad episode is that catastrophes happen when we do non hold adequate resiliency to absorb the impact of a jeopardy. Hazards are exogenic but catastrophes are endogenous. Hence. while deluging is a jeopardy. our inability to get by with the effects of inundations contribute to a major catastrophe. The 2nd lesson is the demand to integrate a holistic position in development planning. Land usage. urban development. industrial activities and H2O direction must be coordinated. Geographers know that specific terrain is suited for certain activities. Therefore. land usage programs must be decently prepared and purely enforced. The 3rd lesson is the pressing demand for institutional reforms. Neither the authorities nor public could state which establishment was finally responsible. Assorted governments had different positions on inundation direction and took contradictory places. Contradictory statements came from different establishments. which confused the populace.
There has to be a consistent and realistic scheme for the Thai governments to pull off inundations efficaciously and quickly. The 4th lesson is that scientists have been working largely on theoretical jobs. which have small relevancy to world. Scientists have to acquire out of their air-conditioned offices. expression at the existent jobs and happen implementable solutions. Real-life jobs can non ever be simulated on computing machine. Imitating theoretical accounts and printing research documents that have small relevancy indicates a failure from a social and scientific position. The concluding lesson is that as Thailand begins its rehabilitation attempt. it should non merely include Reconstruction of substructure but besides Restoration of the trust and assurance of the people.
We need to continuously learn from errors and fix for a better hereafter. The fact that Thailand had been able to guard off old catastrophes was chiefly due to good luck. The state may non be so fortunate following clip. Said Irandoust is president of the Asian Institute of Technology. Bangkok. Asit K Biswas is laminitis of the Third World Centre for Water Management. Mexico. a member of the International Advisory Board. AIT. and distinguished visiting professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Singapore.