Asia pays watery price for overdevelopment

Oct 25 2011 - 9:40am

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(APICHART WEERAWONG/The Associated Press) In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, factory workers form lines to fix makeshift barriers made of sandbags as water started to leak through it at Nawa Nakhon industrial estate on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises.
In this Oct. 24, 2011 file photo, cars are parked on an overfly at a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2011, file photo, a Thai resident braves chest-deep floods in Rangsit district on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2011, file photo, a giant Buddha statue sits amidst the floods in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2011 file photo, residents wade through floodwaters in the Rangsit district on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
(APICHART WEERAWONG/The Associated Press) In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, factory workers form lines to fix makeshift barriers made of sandbags as water started to leak through it at Nawa Nakhon industrial estate on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises.
In this Oct. 24, 2011 file photo, cars are parked on an overfly at a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2011, file photo, a Thai resident braves chest-deep floods in Rangsit district on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2011, file photo, a giant Buddha statue sits amidst the floods in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2011 file photo, residents wade through floodwaters in the Rangsit district on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. Like most of monsoon-swept Asia, the city and its environs have experienced periodic floods since it was founded more than two centuries ago. But recent decades have witnessed dramatic changes - from intense urbanization to rising waters blamed on climate change - that are turning once burdensome but bearable events into national crises. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

BANGKOK -- Urbanization is partly to blame for this year's flood woes in Asia.

Floods are nothing new for the monsoon-swept continent, but overdevelopment and climate change have turned once bearable events into national crises.

In Thailand's capital, the government is scrambling to try to prevent floodwaters from inundating the city center.

Some experts say that traditional societies had an easier coexistence with water and flooding.

That can be seen in a few enclaves of Bangkok from a largely bygone era. Residents still live in houses perched on stilts. Instead of cars parked outside, they have boats.

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