All that wasn't washed away
Months after last year's deadly deluge, 'Brunch' followed the Chao Phraya to Ayutthaya to speak to those living in riverside communities, check the extent of restoration of homes and cultural artefacts and get a first-hand look at the resilience of life along the winding flow of modernity
At Koh Kret a Mon man points to a mark on the wall at the height of his head. "The water was here," he says of last October and November. "It was a bad time."
"In 1995, it was here," says another man, back stooped with age, referring to another year when floods were severe, though the spot he points to is at least half a metre lower than the most recent mark. Traces of the big flood before that, in 1983, have long been washed or painted away, but they remain in the men's memories.
We are on a slow journey upriver to photograph the condition of riverside sights and communities. The 2011 Thailand floods caused at least 815 deaths and affected 14 million people. Over 20,000 square kilometres of farmland was damaged in 65 provinces. According to the World Bank, it was the planet's second worst natural disaster of the year _ after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan _ and in monetary terms (causing 1.4 billion baht in damage) the fourth costliest of all time, after the Japanese disasters of 2011, the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.