Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Friday, November 4, 2011

Satellite images reveal Thai flood plight

These satellite photos taken before and after recent floods in Thailand show how the landscape has been transformed.

The first slide contrasts two identical areas of Southeast Asia taken on November 12 2008 and November 1 2011.

Captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite, the images show Thailand (left), Cambodia (middle) and Vietnam (far right).

One hundred kilometers north of the Thai capital, Bangkok lies the historic city of Ayutthaya.

Founded in the 14th century on the confluence of three rivers -- the Chao Phraya, the Lopburi and the Pasak -- it was an important trade center, once known as the "Venice of the East."

After the rains, baby elephant brings hope

Today, that old moniker takes on a new meaning. Streets have become small rivers with surrounding farmland and floodplains submerged as images taken in July and October this year by NASA's Advanced Land Imager graphically illustrate.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that around 200,000 hectares of farmland have been affected by the floods across the country.

The urban economy has also been thrown into flux with an estimated 1,000 factories affected.

The country is a manufacturing hub for hundreds of electronics companies; the IUCN expects total economic losses from the disaster to exceed $3 billion. more