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Floods: Facebook helps Nakhon Sawan

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During 18 days of high floodwaters, Facebook remade civil society in Nakhon Sawan, from the grassroots on up. 

Nakhon Sawan

Photo above of boat travel through downtown Nakhon Sawan at the height of the flooding.

In photo below people dine out by the riverbank near the government office complex in downtown Nakhon Sawan. Life has returned to normal for residents as the severe floods which devastated much of the province have receded. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Click button to listen to Facebook and the Floods in Nakhon Sawan to download

FLOODING: Civil society finds outlet on Facebook, Social networking aids local crisis recovery by Apinya Wipatayotin


river restaurantThe 18 days of flooding endured by the town of Nakhon Sawan spurred a powerful movement of social networking and showed that civil society can work well on flood relief operations.

They helped the city quickly return to normalcy in the span of a mere two weeks.

The floods which hit the provincial municipality more than a month ago were so serious that no dry space was left in the town. 

The sudden overflow of water over the river embankment forced more than 10,000 people to evacuate to 27 evacuation centres on nearby hills...

..."....We have strong cooperation in the community, which is the secret to our success," [... said Janya Kwangkaeo active in online flood relief coordination].

The cooperation also extended through social networks. Eleven residents set up a water monitoring group in Nakhon Sawan on Facebook. The number of followers increased to more than 14,000, most of them Nakhon Sawan natives.

Assachai Phitcharoenporn, 30, who helped start the Facebook page, said he initially intended to update and share information about the floods with friends.

He wanted to tell them where the floods had hit and the level of the water in different places and to inform road users how to avoid flooded areas. 

Some of them later posted video clips on the webpage, which finally drew the attention of others living in Nakhon Sawan.

"More and more people came to our Facebook page and shared information on the flood. We had senior police officers, doctors and officials, including the mayor, join our Facebook. That made our information even more credible," he said

The Facebook page was finally turned into a portal for rescue operations after members started posting messages for help.

The moderators of the page worked as coordinators to contact people who had direct authority to deal with the problem and most of them were friends on Facebook. As a result, they were able to rapidly send assistance to people in need.

Although the flood crisis is over, the Facebook page is still active as a social media tool, providing useful information for people living in the province.

Political comments are banned to prevent them from muddying the real purpose of the page.

Adisak Chantavichanuwong, a local civil society coordinator, said civil groups from such sectors as community development, business, academic and media also formed the Civil Centre for the Flood Victims to distribute relief supplies, evacuate people and run a hot line service for people to call for assistance and information.

The group measured the level of water using GPS tools, drew up emergency plans in case dykes were breached and provided information to people living in the city.

They also monitored the water level at Bhumipol, Sirikit and Kwae Noi dams on a daily basis.

But, after withstanding the flood for two months, the city's flood barrier finally collapsed in the middle of October, causing the river to overflow and flood the city.

The municipality deployed 700 water pumps and it took 10 days to drain the water from the town and allow people to start the clean up work...

[Read the whole article here]

(Source: Bangkok Post, FLOODING, Civil society finds outlet on Facebook, Social networking aids local crisis recovery, 8/12/2011, Apinya Wipatayotin, link

Flood Crisis Social Networking Vocabulary

social networking - use of websites such as Facebook that give people a page they can post photos and updates on life or what they are reading or doing and at the same time find, meet and chat with new friends who have common interests (See Wikipedia)

Facebook - the most popular "social networking" site (See Wikipedia and Bangkok Post Learning Facebook)

media - radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ
social media - the use of web-based and mobile technologies that allow social interaction with other people user generated content creation and exchange, changing the way of communication between organizations, communities, as well as individuals; this includes online magazines, internet forums, weblogs,  twitter, youtube, photographs, video, rating and social bookmarking (See Wikipedia)

active - working, operating, doing its job
the Facebook page is still active as a social media tool, providing useful information for people living in the province

civil society - all the voluntary social relationships in a society: "civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state's political system), the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal organizations like the mafia. Together, state, market, and civil society constitute the entirety of a society, and the relations between these components determine the character of a society and its structure" (See Wikipedia)

community - all the people who live in a place and know each other (have something in common and are friends) ชุมชน

cooperation - working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides; working together to achieve shared goals ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
we have strong cooperation in the community

the secret to our success

portal - web portal, a webpage like yahoo that is the first place that people go to (that gives them news, info, etc) (See Wikipedia)
rescue - to save someone from a dangerous situation ช่วยชีวิต
portal for rescue operations

coordinator - someone whose job is to organise the various parts of an activity and make sure that all the people involved work well together ผู้ประสานงาน ประสานงานกัน ทำงานร่วมกัน
civil society coordinator

find an outlet - 1. find a way to say what you want to say or do what you want to do; or perhaps "media outlet" meaning a newspaper or other news organization 
civil society finds outlet on Facebook

moderator - internet forum moderator; a person who looks after a discussion forum to make sure there is peace (that people do not say violent or hurtful things or irrelevant things to other people in the forum; bars people from posting and rejects postings sometimes) (See Wikipedia)
contact
- to communicate with someone  ติดต่อ สัมผัส
the moderators of the page worked as coordinators to contact people who had direct authority to deal with the problem

hot line - a telephone number that a person can call to get quick help with a problem
civil group -
a voluntary group of people who help society in some way

development - the gradual growth and formation of something
community development - building a better and stronger community

GPS - a system that can tell you your position on a map using satellites in space orbiting around the earth (See Wikipedia)

academic - someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job นักวิชาการ
distribute - to give something such as food, clothes or money to a group of people แจกจ่าย

civil groups from such sectors as community development, business, academic and media also formed the Civil Centre for the Flood Victims to distribute relief supplies, evacuate people and run a hot line service for people to call for assistance and information

emergency - an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน

dyke - a water wall, a wall that holds back water; preventing water from entering a place
breached dykes - passed the dykes and entered the protected dry area,  flooding the dry area with water

the group measured the level of water using GPS tools, drew up emergency plans in case dykes were breached and provided information to people living in the city.

monitored - watch carefully what is happening, to make sure everything goes well เฝ้าระวัง
monitored the water level at Bhumipol, Sirikit and Kwae Noi dams on a daily basis.

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤตการณ์ วิกฤต
recovery
- becoming strong and healthy again after an illness or a problem ฟื้นฟู
local crisis recovery

social networking aids local crisis recovery

social movement - a group of people who share the same goals and work together to achieve it การเคลื่อนไหวเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์ทางการเมือง
movement - same as "social movement"
spurred
- caused ก่อให้เกิด

the 18 days of flooding endured by the town of Nakhon Sawan spurred a powerful movement of social networking

complex - an area that has several parts
government office complex - a large group of buildings with government departments are located and work

life has returned to normal

residents
- people who live in an area ผู้อยู่อาศัย ผู้อาศัย ชาวบ้านในบริเวณ ผู้อาศัยในบริเวณ  ราษฎรในบริเวณนั้น
severe
- very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
devastated - badly damaged or destroyed ถูกทำลายล้าง

floods recede - the flood water goes back to the river
the severe floods which devastated much of the province have receded

relief - help for improving a bad physical condition or a bad situation การผ่อนคลาย, การบรรเทา help; assistance การช่วยให้พ้นภัย money, food, medicine etc. that is given to help people in places where there has been a natural disaster, war, etc. เครื่องบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
flood relief operations - helping people deal with the flood (helping them solve their flood problems)

span - the amount of time that something lasts ช่วงเวลา
mere - not large or important เพียงเท่านั้น
the span of a mere two weeks - in only two weeks

normalcy - the state of being normal, ordinary or usual สภาวะปกติ
return to normalcy - return to normal situation (without flood problems)
helped the city
quickly return to normalcy in the span of a mere two weeks.

province (noun) - a government administrative area outside of Bangkok จังหวัด
provincial
(adjective) - an area outside Bangkok

municipality - a town, city or district with its own local government เทศบาล
provincial municipality - a town or city outside of Bangkok (in the provinces)

overflow - when the water level rises too high and the water leaves a place or container (example: while filling the bathtub she forgot about it and the water "overflowed" all over the bathroom)
embankment - the side of a river built up to prevent water leaving the river and flooding dry land
overflow of water over the river embankment

evacuate (verb) - to leave a place because it is not safe อพยพออกจากพื้นที่ เคลื่อนย้ายออกจาก ถูกไล่ที่
evacuation (noun) - the activity or process of leaving a dangerous place quickly
evacuation centre - a place where people escaping from a dangerous place can live temporarily

forced more than 10,000 people to
evacuate to 27 evacuation centres on nearby hills

the sudden overflow of water over the river embankment forced more than 10,000 people to evacuate to 27 evacuation centres on nearby hills...

monitoring - regularly checking an ongoing activity or process (to check for problems or collect information) จับตาดู
set up a water monitoring group - created a group to watch the water level and flood danger

Nakhon Sawan natives - people from Nakhon Sawan (born and raised in Nakon Sawon)

initially - at the beginning ในเบื้องต้น at first ในระยะต้น
intended - planned; wanted to happen ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
update - add the most recent information
share - to have or use something at the same time as someone else ใช้ร่วมกัน

initially
intended to update and share information about the floods with friends.

inform - tell people about what happened, report new information to people who don't know about it yet
inform road users how to avoid flooded areas. 

mayor - the chief, head, leader of a town
credible - able to be believed or trusted น่าเชื่อถือ
we had senior police officers, doctors and officials, including the mayor, join our Facebook. That made our information even more credible

authority
- the power to make decisions, issue orders, and get a job done อำนาจ, อำนาจในการสั่งการ
people who had direct authority to deal with the problem

assistance - help (given to someone)
rapidly send assistance to people in need

muddy - make unclear (like putting dirt in water which makes "mud")
muddying the real purpose of the page

banned - officially not allowed to do something ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ ถูกตัดสิทธิ ถูกห้าม
political comments are banned to prevent them from muddying the real purpose of the page.

barrier - anything that prevents people from being together or understanding each other อุปสรรค
collapsed - fall down suddenly ล้ม ทิ้งตัวลง

withstand - be able to continue to stand and hold back some great force (here: force of floodwaters)
flood barrier withstands flood  
after withstanding the flood for two months, the city's flood barrier finally collapsed in the middle of October,

deployed - prepare a resource so that it is ready to be used
the municipality
deployed 700 water pumps and it took 10 days to drain the water from the town and allow people to start the clean up work...

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