Sunday, October 16, 2011

BMA begs govt to keep flood water from Pathum Thani out of city

BMA begs govt to keep flood water from Pathum Thani out of city

Bangkok is begging the Irrigation Department to help stop the floodwaters swamping neighbouring Pathum Thani from cascading into the capital.

"We're worried about Sai Mai and Don Muang districts as well as all areas in the eastern zone," Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday.

"We'll ask the Irrigation Department to close the sluice gate of Canal 1 everyday. We will beg for sympathy until the water gate there is closed," he said.

Don Mueang Airport, which still services many airlines, is located in Don Muang district.
Sukhumbhand said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has also been trying to protect its area from floods by building an embankment along the Hok Wa Canal in Sai Mai.
The Army has already been asked to help construct a one-metre-high sandbag barricade along a six-kilometre stretch of this canal. The water in the canal had already risen by two centimetres a day.

Even without the runoff from the storm-struck upper parts of the country, many Bangkok roads were submerged on Saturday night following a torrential downpour.

"The rainfall in Bangkok was up to 154 millimetres on Saturday night," Sukhumbhand said.
From January 1-October 16, Bangkok has been pelted by 2.16m of rain, more than usual.
"The good news is that the Banyan storm has already weakened into just a pressure ridge," he said.

Saturday's cloudburst was responsible for raising the water in many of Bangkok's canals, he said.

"We are closely monitoring the situation," he said.

However, the city's defences have so far successfully saved its inner areas from floods, he said.

The floodwalls range from 2.5m to three metres in height.

However, not all areas in Bangkok are protected by embankments. If runoff from Ayutthaya rages down without any control, many parts of the capital will be threatened, he added.
Pathum Thani is now struggling with water from upstream.

"Our embankment was originally 4m above sea level, but now we've raised it to 6m," Alisa Sahavacharin, assistant rector for student affairs at Thammasat University, said about the Rangsit Campus in Pathum Thani.

The water in nearby canals has almost reached the height of their embankments.
"We believe the moats inside the campus will help," she said.

The campus was ready to move all flood victims taking shelter in the Gymnasium 1 building to its upper floor if it is inundated, she said.

Anon Antimanon, a volunteer at the university's Rangsit Campus, which is a major evacuation centre for flood refugees, said the Chiang Rak and Premprachakorn canals behind the campus had overflowed.

"Chiang Rak Road, which is just behind the campus, is now under about one-and-a-half metres of floodwater," he said.
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