Flood in Thailand: more than 2 times of Java island

Flood in Thailand is the largest flood disaster in the last 100 years. Area affected by flooding in Thailand at present is more than twice of Java island (Java = 126,700 sq km) or less extensive than half of Sumatra island. Water levels ranging from 30 cm to 400 cm, and some areas even more than 4 m.

Until October 23, 2011, using data from RADARSAT-1, extensive inundation has reached 289,337 sq km, almost 62% of Sumatra island (Sumatra = 470,000 sq km) and caused more than 300 people died and millions of people who still live scattered throughout the affected areas.

I tried to find out the water situation under normal conditions using Landsat satellite imagery (aquisition date: January 1, 2011, which I have edited using additional data with acquisition January 14, 2010 and January 11, 2009 to close the gap), I found that most areas flooding is a flat area with mostly land use is agricultural crops.

Look at the picture below, the blue color is water under normal conditions, water was in agricultural areas, rivers, and lakes. At the time of flood, water has submerged the entire area of agriculture and many farm villages have been suffered (red circle).

Affected area

Note: I only use one scene of Landsat satellite imagery data for Thailand region. The above picture does not show the whole affected area. For more details you can refer to this page (http://flood.gistda.or.th/), but in Thailand language.

This flood will surely cause the farmer suffered, which their main income is come from agricultural crops.



  1. It is really horrible for the people of Thai. What do u suggest for quick recovery from the massive floods? How to drain water out of the affected area? Do u have some techniques in mind?

  2. Indeed, I don’t know Rifqi, I think there is no quick way for this catastrophic. The most important thing now is food and medical supplies for Thai peoples.
    But if we assume there is no additional rain, it will take 30 days to dispose of this water into the sea asap, by passing the water through it’s natural flow, inundation will recede faster,
    but it’s mean will be flooded Bangkok, the CBD (Central Business District) the most important economic and business place of this country.
    This is one of problems at this time of crisis.

    What we can learn from this are:
    1. Do not try to fight against natural system
    2. Mitigation is important in order to avoid from many victims of peoples
    3. Modeling / simulation is different with real one, participation and support from local people is important, only them can understand what they need when its happen. Building local people capacity with full support from government and scientist!

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