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Bangkok residents caught off-guard by torrential rain

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Heavy rain ravaged Bangkok on July 20, 2022 and images circulating on social media show the extent of the damage. Our observers sent us videos of tuk-tuks struggling to navigate flooded roads, motorcycles being pushed and pedestrians wading through knee-high water.

Heavy downpours are known in Thailand: the country entered the “Wan Khao Phansa” or “Buddhist fast day” on July 14, which traditionally coincides with the start of the rainy season.

‘Many office workers hid under shelter’

However, according to our observer, Yu-Ning, who lives in Bangkok, the magnitude of the downpour has taken many by surprise.



Since it happened after work during rush hour, many office workers hid in shelters, not knowing what to do. There were also a lot of people taking their motorcycles to the sidewalks to reboot their bikes”

A photo showing engines stuck in the flood.
A photo showing engines stuck in the flood. © Twitter/@CoconutCowboy_

Bryan, who has lived in Thailand since 2017, also told us it was the worst rain he’s experienced since.

The police had trucks and they pulled bicycles and cars from the really deep areas.

The police officer helped me unload my bike and start it again. Then he led me and some others out of the flooding on our bikes where there was less water.

Bryan and the police officer who helped him out of the flood.
Bryan and the police officer who helped him out of the flood. © Twitter/@CoconutCowboy_

Nichie sent us an image documenting the downpour in the Bangkok area from July 20, 2022 at 7pm to July 21, 2022 at 1am.  The pink indicates rainfall between 120-150mm, and we can see that different regions in the city experienced so much rain.
Nichie sent us an image documenting the downpour in the Bangkok area from July 20, 2022 at 7pm to July 21, 2022 at 1am. The pink indicates rainfall between 120-150mm, and we can see that different regions in the city experienced so much rain. © Observers

John, an English teacher in Bangkok, said some of his students were late or absent the day after the rainstorm due to traffic or flooded houses.

[My students] said it was the first time in years that it had rained so much and for so long in Bangkok. They too were surprised by the lightning.

The France 24 Observers team also spoke to Baedrian, who works in a hospital:

One of my colleagues took an emergency day after the flood because her house was destroyed and it was impossible to drive her car until the water level dropped.

A photo of cars driving through the flooding.
A photo of cars driving through the flooding. © Twitter/@nichieme

Floods are a recurring problem in Bangkok. They are connected to the geography of the city, which is built on ancient swamps and crossed by the unpredictable Chao Praya River.

For our observer Artie, there is an urgent need to find solutions to these recurring flooding in Bangkok. According to him, the inhabitants of the capital also have a role to play:

They (the governors) have tried to fix the drainage system in Bangkok, the point is people are selfish I would say.

Many still create waste wherever they go, and the waste that results from that behavior then blocks the waterways and makes it harder for the drainage system to work properly.

Experts propose creating a central authority to deal with flooding problems.

I think the governor of Bangkok should really work with this aid organization to find a way to create a more centralized system and mitigate disasters.

On Friday, July 22, there was still a heavy rain warning in Bangkok. Other parts of the country are also affected, such as Phrakhanong, Saphan Sung and Thawee Wattana.

in 2011, a fifth of the city was under water and 500 people died in the worst monsoon floods in decades. The rural areas were especially hard hit.

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