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Asean Affairs    4  November  2011

Tough monsoon year for Asean

  By David Swartzentruber

 AseanAffairs     4  November 2011

Most of the international reporting of the ongoing flood crisis in Southeast Asia has focused on events in Thailand. However, there are four other Asean countries: Cambodia, Laos, Philippines and Vietnam that are also experiencing the dangers brought on by two much water.

Here’s a rundown: Cambodia- 257 deaths, 1.6 million affected; Laos-30 deaths, 430,000 affected; Philippines-98 deaths, 4 million affected and Vietnam-63 deaths, 330,000 affected. Combined with Thailand’s total of 437 deaths and 2.5 million affected yields a total Asean figure of 885 deaths and 8,810,000 affected.

That is quite a total and with climate warming expected to continue, these totals might continue to appear more regularly rather than once every 16 years as was the case in Thailand this year. The last Thai major flood was in 1995.

From this data one can project not only continuing water management problems but an issue involving the majority of Asean countries as water management problems in Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar cannot be easily dismissed as well.

It might well be profitable for all of these countries to form an “Asean Water Management” working group to share information that could well create synergy to develop solutions for water management in these individual Asean countries.

A multinational approach might yield more results than the individual countries  could possible develop.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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