Bangkok floods: the animated series


A Thai woman and her pet parrot, perched atop her head, walk through a flooded riverside market in Bangkok on Oct. 27, 2011.


Paula Bronstein

Dizzied by the torrent of updates flowing from Thailand's government and media, Thais have embraced a YouTube cartoon that distills the ongoing flood crisis down to five essential minutes.

The video series called "Roo Su Flood" -- loose translation: know how to fight the flood -- has proven the antidote for panicky Twitter monitoring and dubious tips swirling around Facebook.

The first episode is up to 485,000 views. That's a huge hit in a country of 65 million.

The video offers up a helpful analogy: the floods pushing into Bangkok equal the weight of 50 million blue whales, all desperate to swim into the sea south of the city.

But they're stuck and pushing hard against the network of dikes and dams defending the Thai capital.

"The big question we all want to know is 'Will the whales go into the sea quicker if we let water in and allow the capital to flood?'" (The answer, according to the video, is yes, though the government is desperate to avoid that scenario.)

Subsequent videos teach Bangkokians how to prep a survival bag and figure out if their neighborhood will be submerged.

The overall message is prepare wisely and don't freak out. "If we cannot expect any certain remedy," says the narrator, "overloading ourselves with information will only lead to useless panic."

Despite the videos' huge popularity, the creators have taken the humble route. Their YouTube "about me" bio only says that they're "volunteers" making original videos to eliminate confusion.

Check out the videos below: