The massive flooding in 2011 was ranked by the World Bank as the fourth costliest natural disaster up until that year, surpassed only by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in the same year, the 1995 Kobe earthquake and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
But the worst aspect of that unprecedented flooding two years ago was not the loss of lives, property or the suffering of millions of people. It was the combination of utter incompetence on the part of the authorities in water resources management and handling of flood relief efforts, and massive corruption, which together exacerbated the problems.
Fortunately, there was no flood last year in the Central Plains thanks to Mother Nature, so all the hastily-built flood prevention projects such as flood walls along parts of the Chao Phraya River, around industrial estates and communities _ erected at an enormous cost _ have yet to show whether they are effective in coping with the next big flood. Or whether any sections of the flood walls along the river have already collapsed because of hasty and poor construction as no one seems to have bothered to check anymore.