Thai floods: Families flee outskirts of Bangkok – A photo essay
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Thai floods: Families flee outskirts of Bangkok – A photo essay

By Ryan van Velzer (guest contributor)

While residents in Bangkok brace for the flood, those in Rangsit are already dealing with the aftermath as the flood moved south breaking an embankment near Khlong 2 and Pahon Yothin, Friday Oct. 21.

Walking along Pahon Yothin road it doesn’t take long to notice the impact of the flood. Store shelves are empty. Sandbags sag out in front of houses and stores. Some barricade their stores with bricks and mortar, preparing for the worst.

Meanwhile, about 15 kilometers up the road the flood grows from puddles to waist-deep water in the span of 2 kilometers.

Residents wade through the deluge carrying plastic trash bags filled with family possessions. Many are leaving their homes behind, searching for higher ground. Some bring their pets, swimming alongside them or floating in boats made from plastic tubs.

The relief effort is visible as residents pile sandbags in front of storefronts not yet submerged, families receive supplies in plastic bags from a nearby donation center and military vehicles drive past carrying supplies and volunteers.

Still others take the opportunity to enjoy the newly-formed river. Boys relax on top of the sandbags while their friends swim in the deluge. Men stand on top an overpass casting nets into the water; a cooler of freshly-caught fish beside them. Families sit together making the best of their time while waiting for the water to subside.

(Click pictures to enlarge)

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Workers barricade the ATMs along Pahon Yothin Rd. in Bangkok preparing for the flood. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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Flood waters inundate the roads where an embankment has broken in Rangsit, Pathum Tani, Friday Oct. 21. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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A family walks out of the flooded area carrying their belongings in plastic bags to keep them dry. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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For many children, the flood is an excuse to go swimming and play with friends. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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Cameras are set up along on overpass documenting families as they trek toward dry land. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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Beneath an overpass near an inundated playground, a man takes a raft to salvage more of his possessions. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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Men escort their wives and mothers through the water. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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A man proudly displays his guitar. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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Kids hang out atop sandbags as a military vehicle moves deeper into the flood. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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A pet owner helps his dog get to dry land. Other residents use makeshift rafts to bring their animals to escort their animals. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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A brother sits beside his sister on a homemade raft. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

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Volunteers look on as a family crosses a road turned into a river. (Photo by Ryan Van Velzer)

Ryan Van Velzer is a freelance photojournalist based in Bangkok. Follow Ryan on Twitter @Rvanvelz.