Locals sidelined during PM’s visit to flood-prone areas (Thailand)

Most local people I spoke to this week during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s fiveday floodprevention and relief trip, which ended yesterday, said their participation in drawing up the flood plans was virtually nil, and that they in fact knew very little about those plans.

Most said they were unsure about whether last year’s devastating floods would revisit their homes and provinces.

“Not sure,” said 57-year-old Sunisa Maneekit from Ayutthaya province, which was badly flooded last year.

What about participation? “None,” was her answer.

Her friend added that only the wellconnected or those with status have access to people like the provincial governor. I was not too surprised by this comment, having watched provincial City Hall clerks spend over an hour fussing and tweaking the props for Yingluck’s first and only proper press conference of the trip, ensuring that it looked nice while the men’s toilet for ordinary citizens on the ground floor was shamefully dirty and rundown.

Up and down the rivers in nine other provinces the answers were strikingly similar.

“Nobody asked us anything,” replied Somjit Chantanchart, a coowner of a local automobilerepair shop, Charoen Sri UThong, in the Rangsit area of Pathum Thani. Her neighbourhood, overlooking Chulalongkorn Watergate, was under a metre plus of water for over a month from November 17 onward last year. “We need to help ourselves.”

Read more in The Nation

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