Enhancing Adaptation to Climate Change by Impact Assessment of the Flood in Bangkok

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Wijitbusaba Ann Marome


Bangkok is not only Thailand’s political, economic and administrative capital, but also a regional and global hub. In recent decades, it has transformed from a compact urban core into a sprawling megacity. Today, in addition to the original centre, the city also extends into its five neighboring provinces and forms a single agglomeration, the Bangkok Metropolitan Region: around 15% of the country’s population resides here. However, alongside its economic and demographic vitality, Bangkok is highly vulnerable to climate change and other environmental issues. In particular, due to the ‘three waters’ of runoff, rain and sea rise, together with its low-lying topography of 1.0-2.0 meters, much of the capital is prone to inundation. This research draws analysis on the 2006 and 2010 flood and profiles the causes of the 2006 and 2010 flooding and presents four case study districts in the eastern suburbs of Bangkok: Min Buri, Nong Jork, Lat Krabang and Klong Samwa. Each of them has distinct physical, social and economic characteristics, yet all were impacted to varying degrees by the flooding and reflect Bangkok’s rapid urbanization in their mix of agricultural, industrial and residential uses. The areas also illustrate the experience of residents living outside the inner city’s established polder system.

The results highlight the importance of a localized analysis of the impacts of flooding, as both the intensity and the nature of its effects vary considerably from district to district. Of the four, Minburi was the worst affected, particularly as residents suffered loss of livelihood as a result of the economic disruption and health threats. As with the other districts, the indirect costs of the flooding at times exceeded the direct physical damage, though this is not generally recognized in official assessments. The research findings highlighted the significance of work absence as a major indirect cost: while the impact on individual households was relatively moderate, the agricultural sector was severely affected. Medical care was another indirect expense for inundated communities with the spread of diseases such as dengue fever and foot-and-mouth disease.


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