After 10 days of trying to ignore the approaching floods I finally decided to do something. I’ve taken my family out of Bangkok, and we are now staying in a hotel in Jomtien. Our housing estate had turned into a ghost town, and those few people who stayed behind were all a lot better prepared than we were. I think my wife did a great job building a cement wall to protect the house, but I just wasn’t convinced that it would be enough. We contacted an emergency number in Minburi yesterday morning, and they told us to prepare for at least 1.2 meters of water later that day. This would have submerged our car and left us stuck on the top floor of the house.
Ignoring the Floods is a Dangerous Gamble
I’m a more responsible person now than I was in my drinking days, but I’m far from perfect. I would say that the most damaging of my personality flaws is the tendency to ignore problems. When something goes wrong I just try to pretend it isn’t happening. My stress levels go through the roof, but I do not take the necessary action that would remedy the situation. I wait until the problem reaches a point where it is impossible to ignore (see my previous post here for another example of this tendency).
When my wife warned me of the approaching floods my initial reaction was to play down her fears. We had a lot of flooding a few weeks ago, but it didn’t cross the barrier of our home. I did begin watching the Thai news reports about the current situation, and this convinced me that things could get really bad for us. Still I felt completely unable to make any decision about how we should prepare. To be honest, I felt irritated every time my wife mentioned it – thankfully I managed to hide this irritation.
During my years as a nurse I became good at keeping a clear head in the midst of emergency situations, but when it came to my own family’s safety this clarity wasn’t there. This is why Oa ended up building the flood wall, and why I failed to move the car to higher ground earlier. It is also why I didn’t buy sandbags when we had the chance. My only reaction to the approaching devastation was to take a few photos and write about it on my blog.
Escape from Bangkok
The reality of getting my family trapped in the floods and losing the car finally hit me yesterday. I realised that sitting there passively was not only unwise but also irresponsible. Many people do not have the choice pack up and leave, but we did. Staying in a hotel for a few days is a bit of a financial hardship, but it is nothing compared to what other people are losing. It will be sad if the belongings we left behind are lost to the water but everything is replaceable. In some parts of Thailand people have lost everything – there have also been over 300 people who lost the precious gift of life.
We contacted one of the few remaining people who have stayed behind in our housing estate. The high floods have still not come to our area. It may turn out that abandoning Bangkok was unnecessary, but it was the responsible thing to do for my family.