The breakneck rate of development across the island has been plain to see, as swathes of green have disappeared from the hills that form the backbone of our island. Anyone who hasn’t already been subjected to flooding need only keep an eye out for their nearest construction site on higher ground for a hint that floods might be on the horizon.
Mother Nature sent a shot across Phuket’s proverbial bow just last month, yet those downpours and subsequent flooding were actually the result of less rainfall than that which brought the floods this past week. By then, of course, it was already too late. The buffalo had bolted and those whose homes were prone to flooding were about to be literally inundated with the reality of their situation.
That doesn’t make it any nicer, or fairer. As for the landslide that damaged the two-story villa project in Kamala, anyone who thinks that a piddling landslide will prevent those villas from being completed and later sold to unsuspecting buyers probably needs to spend a couple more years on the island watching the wheels of progress turn.
Even scarier is the emergency “patch” response to the two bridges in Pa Khlok that suffered damaged from the raging torrents beneath them. In a country where “putting a band-aid on a band-aid” is a solution to a problem, the speed of those repairs was hardly convincing.
Furthermore, the bridges crossing Bang Yai Canal in Phuket Town are about half-a-century old. Construction standards in Thailand are not great today, so what they were like back then is anyone’s guess. Perhaps we should be grateful they have not already collapsed, but at the very least, every bridge in Phuket Town that was subjected to extreme, “unforeseen” pressure from the rains must be stress-tested lest they collapse when the next heavy rains come.
At least local officials seem to getting it right with the monkeys, asking experts and seeking appropriate places where the ever-growing population of Phuket’s indigenous monkey troops could, should and would be moved to. It’s a pity our “competent officials” can’t do the same when it comes to providing permission for new buildings.