The Floods of Minburi – Greetings from Fortress Garrigan

Getting Ready for the Bangkok Floods

The water is continuing to rise outside our home here in Minburi. I can once again hear thunder clouds in the distance so we can look forward to another downpour this evening. Our main worry is Friday; this is when the water released from reservoirs in the north of the country is set to hit Bangkok. In order to save the financial areas of the capital this water is being diverted into the canals (you can read all about this here). Our house is situated in an area that is most likely to be affected. Already the local roads are impassible so we are stuck here until the emergency ends.

Bangkok Floods Have Caught Many With Their Trousers Down

I think most of us here have been caught by surprise. It is only really in the last couple of days that people have been taking the whole thing seriously. Some of my neighbors have abandoned their homes to go stay with relatives; others have barricaded themselves in for the duration. We left it too late to buy sandbags; apparently there still some available in the centre of Minburi but we’ve no way of getting to them. Some people have parked their cars in the airport or in department stores, and I sort of regret not doing the same.

A View of the Approaching Floods From Our Window

Building Fortress Garrigan

My wife is the smart one in the family and if it wasn’t for her we would be facing the floods unprepared. She has built a wall at the front of our property to protect us from the water. Our main concern is to keep the car safe. If water invades the house it won’t be nice, but it won’t be the end of the world either. The only thing that we need to be careful of is that we turn off the electricity before that happens. The worrying thing is that the water is rising even when it isn’t raining. Last night there was no rain but the water level rose silently.

I must admit that Oa did a fantastic job on the wall, but she made one glaring error. She cemented in the rain drainage pipe on our side of the wall. Luckily we noticed this before the cement had dried. I can’t help worrying how we are going to remove this construction once the flood is gone.

Can You Spot the Flaw in My Wife's Flood Barrier?

The weather people are predicting that once we get past the weekend it will be the end of the rainy season. The next few days are going to be interesting, but I doubt we will suffer anywhere near the same amount of hardship as people in some other parts of the country. I’m amazed at how little coverage this event is getting in the western media.

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15 thoughts on “The Floods of Minburi – Greetings from Fortress Garrigan

  1. Paul – I read on one of the Thai blogs today (I think it was WLT) that if your home is in danger of flooding you need to block your toilet with a sandbag or something. If the water floods the bowl then everything in the outside tank is liable to come up into your house. Messy.

    As far as the western media goes I did view an extensive report about Thailand’s floods on BBC News yesterday. Also a few people have mentioned Thailand’s dire situation to me since my return to the UK. Some level of coverage is obviously getting through.

    Right now all the media coverage going won’t help you, only the luck of the Irish will, and at least you’ve got a large slice of that in your household.

    Good luck.

  2. Even though we don’t face the same problems in my country, what struck me about your post was the reminder that all of us who are expats seem to face entirely different problems in our new countries than we faced back home. I think one of the things about expat life is when we manage to deal with all these new challenges it gives a great feeling of accomplishment. Good luck with these floods, and please do keep us updated with what happens! As far as removing the wall later, it is probably a simple matter to hire some local workmen to knock it down with hammers (if you don’t want to leave it up for future floods, of course). In my country they seem to do everything like that by hand.

    1. Hi Lynne, I’d be a bit lost if my wife hadn’t taken charge of things. When it comes to stuff like this my usual policy is to ignore it and hope for the best.

      I’ll have to knock the wall down so that we can get our car out.

  3. Paul I’ve been watching the situation in BKK like a hawk. Our daughter left today via there and we fly out in a week or so, with a few days lay over, in the capital. My fingers are crossed for you and yours and Bangkok, over the next few days…stay dry!

  4. Hey Paul
    I live in Singapore where the slightest floods are treated like national disasters. I happen to also own a house in Minburi off Suwinthawong in the Preecha development and have no idea what the flooding situation there is.
    My only advice to you is to keep your spirits high and ride out the floods with a smile. Let me know if I can help. I have some in-laws who are honest and humble contractors. I am relying on them to keep my house dry.
    Cheers mate.

    1. Hi Ananda, I also live off Suwinthawong. I hope your in-laws are doing a good job of protecting your home. The water isn’t too high at the moment in our area but they are predicting that the worst has yet to come.

  5. Hi Paul,

    I’m wondering how are you by now? Are you ok and how was your house? I hope that you and your family would be alright. My house is still safe and we didn’t hear anything about it being flooded. My area is still in the safe condition and I hope that if it’s going to flood, then come slowly. I’ve heard from my friends that the water will come so fast in the middle of the night and tomorrow morning, they cannot get out of the house already.

    Anyway, I just came here to check if there’s any news from you. Cos you’ve gone so long now and I’m worried. I wish this disaster would end soon and all people outside of Bangkok will have a place to sleep.So please be safe and come back to tell us more enjoyable stories : )

  6. Hi Paul,

    We are wondering about the floods near where our former exchange student lives with her family. I think it may be near you (we visited her there in 2010). Her address is Leabwari Rd Sansab, Minburi, Bangkok. Do you know of this place?

  7. Dear Paul: I happened to be at our house in the States repairing hurricane damage when all the water began in Thailand and my wife and extended family have a shop and home in the 34 block of Suwinthawong. No water there as of 9:22am the day of this post. I have been begging her to leave MinBuri for 6 days, but she is stubborn. I fear most of Suwinthawong Road will be underwater tomorrow and I am praying I am wrong. I will keep you and yours in my prayers. My wife has finally relented to head towards the sea side and I have given up on the repairs here and instead am preparing supplies to begin repairing after the water recedes when I get back to Thailand. God speed mate!

    1. Hi Michael, I understand your wife’s reluctance to leave. Some of our neighbors who left last week have now returned. I was driving around Minburi today and you would never guess that we could be on the verge of a flooding.

      1. Paul: I’ve been ferriting out every strand of news relative to the changing conditions from folks scattered about Thailand and would appreciate any condition posts you are willing to offer up. As of 2:18am, the 34 block of Suwinthawong road is still high and dry. I know Toyota corp offered up an idea to dig channels under suwinthawong and 5 other roads to allow the water build-up to pass through, but don’t know if they actually began that process or not. It was to start yesterday morning. I’m pretty sure I am familiar with the estate you live at and have been watching for any news relative to your location conditions and will post them as I find them. If there is anything you would find helpful when all is said and done, let me know; I’ll try to get those items into the shipping container I’m readying to send. Looking forward to sharing a pint when all is said and done. God speed – Michael

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