Business, Finance & Economics

Flooding the suburbs to save Bangkok


A local resident swims with a mobile phone attached to his head in floodwaters after a mud and sandbag wall collapsed in Bang Bua Thong in Nonthaburi province, suburban Bangkok, on October 19, 2011. Thailand's premier urged the kingdom's rival political factions on October 19 to work together to tackle the worst floods in decades.


Nicolas Asfouri

Thailand's government has decided to divert devastating floodwaters into Bangkok's outskirts to protect the capital, according to the Bangkok Post.

Sparing the heart of the city will carry a heavy price. The districts being sacrificed aren't at all rural. Like Bangkok's city center, they're also densely populated with people and shops -- just less so than the core of Bangkok, a roughly 10 million-population metropolis.

Thousands of Thais -- troops, students and shopkeepers -- are now furiously reinforcing a nearly four-mile sandbag wall along the districts expected to take on flooding. According to Bloomberg, the death toll is up to 315.

With more rain expected in coming days -- and grey skies outside my apartment windows in Bangkok -- it appears nature is not yet ready to spare Thailand.