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Families versus water

October 3, 2011

Yesterday we battled the wrath of the monsoon. Previous rains in September which were bad enough were nothing to the unleashed force that struck yesterday. We had planned for a rainy season clean-up at Dokmai Garden, and so we had summoned extra hands. One man phoned from the neighbouring district San Patong and said there is a terrible rain fall and that he could not get out. The other workers did not show up, which is normal if it is raining here in Thailand.

We saw nothing special here at Dokmai Garden, but after lunch the black clouds of Mordor emerged. In a matter of minutes, literally, we had 25 mm of rain (or 1000 cubic metres or 34 large tanker trucks of water covering the garden). I emptied the rain meter, grabbed my ergonomic Swedish Fiskars spade and began a few hours of work to help uphill water pass around Dokmai Garden as quickly as possible. Next time I checked the rain meter, after about 45 minutes, it was full (another 35 mm). I emptied it again and later I measured another 12 mm before the rain declined. In total we received over 72 mm of rain in about two hours. How much exactly I do not know since the meter was full. With Saturday’s rainfall of 20 mm we received nearly 100 mm in one and a half day, exceeding the average rainfall of the entire month of October. Bear in mind that much more water passed the garden, as there is a hill above us.

As soon as the water has passed, everything goes back to normal at Dokmai Garden. The unfortunate people are at the very bottom of the valley, in the rice fields and along the Ping river downtown, and in provinces south of Chiang Mai. I just read the Bangkok Post article ‘Total Disaster’; all districts of the province Ayutthaya are declared disaster zones. Each family and each business is fighting alone.

According to the Nation people in Chiang Mai districts San Patong and San Kamphaeng may experience land slides and so they have to prepare for immediate evacuation. This is a consequence of the soil becoming too loose and soggy, often worsened by the clear cutting. Over 200 people have died in Thailand and some 10 000 families in Chiang Mai are disrupted.

All hands on deck, only pregnant women are excused! Mika, 3.5 years, helps battling the rain at Dokmai Garden. Luckily, tropical rains are not cold. In spite of the situation we had visitors today. Mika’s mom Ketsanee had to explain that due to force majeure we had to close.


Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2011 7:13 AM

    Handsome Mika looks all set to get things done . Sorry to hear of the Rainy North East Monsoon and the typhoons hitting the South China sea area , China , Vietnam and Ppines is not helping either.

  2. October 3, 2011 9:21 AM

    Meanwhile on the same Sunday not 20 km away around Chiang Mai University it was unusually dry. I cannot recall a drop.

    • October 3, 2011 11:34 AM

      Yes, this truly shows the erratic weather pattern, and why weather forecasts are less useful here. The guests who tried to get here yesterday were surprised too.

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