The most serious flood ever seen in Korat (Thailand)

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Story by Hong Yew Chai

The newly established branch campus of International Buddhist College (IBC) in Koratwas badly affected by the recent flood that hit the North-eastern province of Thailand.Fortunately, there were not much material losses or damage caused at IBC. The only unfortunate incident striked Ven. Zhen Chan, who in the midst of rescue work, slipped and injured his head. He received five stitches and with the protection and blessings of the bodhisattvas, he had since fully recovered.

According to Ven. Zhen Chan, the water level began to rise on the 15th Nov. Once alerted, the students and staff immediately shifted the books in the library, official documents, computers and other essential properties to higher grounds. Fortunately, about 80% of the college properties was salvaged while the remaining 20% was inundated by the rapidly rising water level.

Causes for the bad flood situation include the overflowing of the nearby river, continuous heavy downpour and the location of IBC site on low-lying land.

IBC, located in Korat, the province that was most badly affected during the recent flood, inevitably suffered the onslaught caused by the flood. One can imagine how serious the flooding was as most parts of campus were submerged under 7 feet of water (well over an average person height) while the higher lands were under 5 ft of water.

As the recent flood was not anticipated and due to lack of experience in encountering the flood situation, the rescue and mobilization work carried out by the students and staff were somewhat panicky and haphazard. Nevertheless it was commendable that all concerned demonstrated high spirit, mutual cooperation and communal assistance during the crisis and retired only when the situation was under controlled. Ven. Zhen Chan and two of the staffs volunteered to stay back in IBC to continue to monitor the situation.

The recent flood in Korat was unprecedented in decades according to a 90-year old woman who commented that she had never seen such a serious flood in her life.

The flood at IBC took about one week to recede. The scenes of the aftermath of the flood at IBC campus were most depressing with the garbage, debris and mud accumulated and strewn all over the place. The students and staff were presented with another challenge i.e. the mammoth task of cleaning up operation. Students and staff quickly moved in to clean up the campus. It was heartening to see many volunteers and military personnel who came forward to offer their help.

With the effort and cooperation of all involved, the library, kitchens, classrooms and the rest of the campus were finally cleaned, all damaged properties repaired and rubbish cleared.

For most of us who are spared the agony of experiencing the inconvenience caused by flood; such as the shortage of drinking water, electricity and food faced by the victims; we may not be able to fully empathize with them, but we can surely offer our humble prayers for their well-being and may peace prevail in the world.