Ayutthaya has been flooded again, but that is hardly news. The inundations have been taking place throughout recorded history. The thing that has made recent floods unusual has been their severity and violence, caused by environmental change and, in part, by the increased population. With more land being developed, the rivers and canals can no longer handle the amount of water flowing into them.
People in Thailand's central valley have been dealing with floods for many centuries, and a body of traditional knowledge has grown up around the phenomenon that is still used today. One especially important aspect of the seasonal flooding is had to do with obtaining food when the waters rose. The answer is rooted in a way of thinking that is still useful for today's lifestyles.
It is known that people in flood-affected areas have long had methods of preparing themselves for the encroaching water. Farmers in the Central region have always planned for the floods in advance and and taken measures to prevent problems. First, they raised the level of a piece of land near the house to form what is called a khoke in Thai, a space where the water buffalo and cattle are able to stay and keep dry. There was usually also a permanent raised place of this kind under the house (traditional Thai houses are raised on stilts) where agricultural equipment could be kept and where the chickens could roam. Then there was the yoong khao, a rice silo up on the same level as the house.
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