Thai Floods Continue to Strike Poor, Migrant Workers

Posted November 2nd, 2011 at 7:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Residents of the Thai capital, Bangkok, said floodwaters continued to rise Wednesday in poorer neighborhoods to the north and west of the city center, which remains largely dry.

The contrast between the dry city center and the flooded poorer suburbs is feeding rising anger against the government, which is using a network of makeshift barriers to divert the water from Bangkok's commercial heart.

Some of that anger is directed against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who gets much of her support from the poorer suburbs where the flooding is worst.

In one area north of the city, soldiers were dispatched to guard workers while they repaired a floodgate that was smashed by angry residents in the hope of releasing the flood waters out of their neighborhood.

Authorities, meanwhile, are struggling to deliver food and other supplies to the flooded neighborhoods, where residents are forced to wade through increasingly fetid water to reach the supply trucks.

Despite the situation, many emergency shelters have not reached capacity as residents either stay with relatives or remain in their flooded homes to protect their possessions.

Some 600,000 migrant workers largely from Burma, Cambodia and Laos, also struggle to escape inundated areas. Migrant aid organizations say their plight remains difficult and have called for government assistance.

One Mekong Migration Network official said many migrant workers, especially from Burma, face neglectful discrimination due to language barriers with aid organizations.