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With much of the country at or near sea level, the Netherlands has produced many water management experts. One of them is helping the Thai government tackle the flood crisis.
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Have a water crisis? Time to call the Dutch
The Netherlands is a low-lying country with 50 percent of its land area below one metre above sea level. In fact, 25 percent of this land area is actually below sea level.
It is not surprising therefore that the Dutch have great expertise in water management, expertise the Thai government desperately needs.
Thus, Dutch researcher Adri Verwey finds himself in Bangkok as an advisor to the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc), arriving on October 11.
What’s his prediction for when Bangkok will be dry? About a month, he says, "unless something dramatic happens, such as a dyke breach".
Mr Verwey admitted, however, that predictions are like weather forecasts. You can predict three days ahead, but three weeks ahead is just a best estimate.
The "best estimate" has often been a problem in this flood crisis. Both the Froc and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) have been criticised for politicising the flood situation and offering inaccurate information to the public.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most heavily politicised, the Dutch expert rated the politicisation of the flood disaster at 7.
"Maybe 7 or so. Ideally, it should be 2," he said.
What has been missing, Mr Verwey observed, is close cooperation between the various agencies and a clear definition of their roles.
"Too much was left to the local communities [to handle]."
Thailand also lacks an effective forecasting system, he says.
He said Thailand could benefit from better technology such as satellite images, model simulations and radar.
This flood crisis is complex and unique, he said. Usually floods come much faster, but the northern run-off came very slowly. It was very spread out and did not seem threatening. But according to the Dutch expert, it has an "enormous power" and the power was "under-estimated".
As for the performance of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, he said: "I've seen enormous dedication from her and she has done many good things."
"Any government that you had at this moment would have been facing an enormous problem and whether it could have done better or worse, that's hard to say."
Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Voranai Vanijaka.
crisis – an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤตการณ์
sea level – the height of the land at the edge of the sea the average height of the sea/ocean, used as the basis for measuring the height of all places on land ระดับน้ำทะเล
expertise – a high level of knowledge or skill ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
desperately – extremely or very much อย่างเต็มที่
researcher – a person who carriers out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it นักวิจัย
advisory – an official warning that something bad is going to happen คำเตือน; การแนะนำ
Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) – the government's centre for assisting flood victims ศูนย์ปฎิบัติการช่วยเหลือผู้ประสบอุทกภัย(ศปภ)
prediction – a statement about what you think will happen in the future การพยากรณ์,คำทำนาย,
dramatic – sudden, very great and often surprising ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ
dyke – a wall built to prevent the sea or a river from covering an area, or a channel dug to take water away from an area เขื่อนกั้นน้ำ
breach – a break through or over something รอยแตก, การข้าม, การทำให้แตก
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
forecast – a statement about what will happen in the future based on information available now พยากรณ์
estimate – an amount that you guess or calculate using the information available ประมาณการ
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) – the local government of Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
criticise – to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด
politicise – to bring something to the attention of the public so that it can be discussed or debated, especially in a political way ทำให้เป็นประเด็นการเมืองsituation
inaccurate – not completely correct or exact ซึ่งคลาดเคลื่อน,ซึ่งไม่ถูกต้อง
(natural) disaster – an unexpected natural event, such as a very bad storm or flood that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage ความหายนะธรรมชาติทาง, ภัยพิบัติธรรมชาติทาง
ideally – in the best possible way — ดีเลิศ, ดีที่สุด, ในอุดมคติ
observe – to make a remark; to give an opinion ออกความเห็น
cooperation – a situation in which people or organisations work together to achieve a result that will benefit all of them การร่วมมือกัน
definition – what an idea, etc. means การกำหนด, คำอธิบายความหมาย
role – the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation บทบาท
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
lack – to not have something needed ขาด
benefit – to recieve an advantage ได้รับประโยชน์
satellite – an electronic device that is sent into space and moves around the earth or another planet. It is used for communicating by radio, television, etc. and for providing information ดาวเทียม
image – any picture, especially one formed by a mirror or a lens จินตภาพ ภาพลักษณ์
simulation – a situation in which a particular set of conditions is created artificially in order to study or experience something that could exist in reality การจำลอง
complex – having a lot of details or small parts that make it difficult to understand or deal with ซับซ้อน
unique – being the only one of its kind ซึ่งเป็นหนึ่งเดียว
run-off – rain, water or other liquid that runs off land into streams and rivers น้ำหลาก
threatening – dangerous; likely to cause harm or violence อันตราย, เป็นภัย
enormous – extremely large มหาศาล
underestimate – to think that something is less important or serious than it really is ประเมินต่ำกว่า
dedication – the hard work and effort that somebody puts into an activity or purpose because they think it is important การอุทิศ