Nov 04, 2011

People Scrambling for Clean Drinking Water Amidst Thailand Floods

Companies provide water filters to help victims of worst flooding in 50 years

While government officials work to contain the worst flooding in Thailand in 50 years, a humanitarian crisis is emerging as thousands of residents seek clean drinking water amidst the putrid floodwater. Companies such as Lifesaver USA are aiming to combat the problem by providing water filters to ensure available drinking water.

“We started receiving calls from people in Bangkok last week, as the potential scale of the flooding started to become clear. Even though it was likely people were going to be surrounded by floodwater, one of the major challenges was going to be for people to access safe drinking water,” said Bud Fults of Lifesaver USA. “[Our Jerrycan product can] provide over 15,000 liters of filtration capability.”

Months of flooding across central Thailand have sent massive amounts of water southward toward the capital, its last obstacle on the way to the sea. The flood peak in Bangkok has coincided with unusually high tides, which have pushed water back up the Chao Phraya River.

The combination has strained the city's flood barriers to their capacity, creating leaks that have sent ankle-high water into downtown streets around Bangkok's iconic Grand Palace and other tourist attractions.

Tens of thousands of residents have fled the area on bamboo rafts, vans, army trucks, or on foot, heading for higher ground in the south. The flooding that began in July has already claimed more than 380 lives, and material losses are yet to be determined.