A NEWS RELEASE
From the office of ELCIC Mission in the World
Winnipeg, August 18, 2005 (ELCIC) - Last December as the Tsunami raged in Asia, Lori Endress, a short-term Missionary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), reported that due to being stationed just north of Thailand in Chiang Mai she thankfully only experienced the tremors from the devastating earthquake. Last Sunday, as floodwaters swirled across the northern provinces of Thailand, Lori experienced what is being called the worst flooding of the area in 11 years. Lori reported the following in an email received yesterday morning:
Sunday's flood in northern Thailand was the worst for Chiang Mai in 40 years. Heavy monsoon rains and environmental degradation are being blamed for the flooding of the northern provinces. Chiang Mai was quickly submerged by water because of a heavy rainfall of 200 millimetres, faults in the flood warning system, and the releasing of floodwaters from the dam into the Ping River instead of irrigation canals.
In northern Thailand, 47 districts, vast areas of farmland, and almost 90,000 people have been directly affected. To date there have been 7 deaths, 50 injuries, 9 persons missing, and nearly 1,150 houses destroyed.
Kelvin Krieger, Program Coordinator for ELCIC Mission in the World, is preparing for travel to Thailand at the end of August and meetings at the McGilvary Seminary in Chiang Mai while en route to the September meetings of the Lutheran partner churches in Papua New Guinea. As he and Lori exchanged emails and confirmed event details for the upcoming trip, Lori reported the following to him on August 15:
This is to let you know that we had a major flood here in Chiang Mai yesterday (Sunday). It originated north in Chiang Rai and came south to us along the overswollen Ping River. By 4 p.m. we were all clearing the bottom floor of our homes best we could. Water rising very quickly. And more monsoon rain! At midnight, the city dam was opened as it could no longer hold water back. That created another big surge.
Our eyes remained focused on the water levels all night. By 2 a.m., the flood was licking the front and back terraces of our house, but remarkably remained just a few centimetres short of surfacing it and coming in.
Today (Monday), there remains a huge lake that is our residential area here at McGilvary Seminary. But gradually the water is receding (for now), leaving behind much damage -- and muck -- all over the place. There is talk of another surge.
Numerous villages have disappeared, and so many have lost their homes, and in some cases, lives. Apparently, this is the largest flood in Chiang Mai in 30 years. Please keep the people of northern Thailand in prayer.
For me, memories in my CLWR [Canadian Lutheran World Relief] days of returning from India and Bangladesh to experience the Winnipeg flood of 1997!
For further information on ELCIC Missionaries and Mission in the World, please visit: http://www.elcic.ca/mission/world.html