Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chao Phraya on the brink

 Bangkok Post

PM says floodwalls not able to withstand water

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned Bangkok residents in all areas last night to brace for flooding after advancing runoff from the north of Bangkok surged into Don Mueang airport yesterday.
No one is spared
Floodwater laps the front of Don Mueang airport on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road where the government is running its flood relief operations centre in Bangkok. Flight operations were halted there yesterday due to the flooded airfield. NATTHITI AMPRIWAN

The prime minister conceded existing floodwalls and water embankments might not be able to withstand the massive inundation and said there was a strong chance the flood will penetrate central and inner zones of the capital.

"The highest risk will be areas along the Chao Phraya River and the floodwalls along the banks. The flood level will depend on how well we can manage the water flow," Ms Yingluck said in a televised message.

She said the government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will work together to ensure the flood level will be kept to a minimum.
An exhausted Janya, 65, sits in front of a gas station on Charan Sanitwong Road waiting for help. CHANAT KATANYU

Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the water level in the Chao Phraya River yesterday reached a record high, rising to between 2.35 and 2.4 metres above sea level.
If the water level continues to rise at this rate, the Chao Phraya will surge up to 2.6m high this weekend whereas the embankment along the river is 2.5m high.

He said riverside communities are urged to be on full alert and prepare for evacuation. Evacuation centres have been arranged at all 50 district offices.

"The high water level in the Chao Phraya River is unprecedented," MR Sukhumbhand said.
City Hall's flood prevention centre yesterday reported that the Chao Phraya water level reached its peak yesterday at 2.4 metres above sea level, recorded in front of Pak Khlong Talat.

Sea tides are expected to be unusually high at between 10 and 20cm today.

MR Sukhumbhand said that City Hall can no longer strengthen the embankments stretching more than 86km along the river banks with more than 10 million sandbags in a limited period.
Office workers in the Samsen area wade through a flooded road amid heavy rain as they leave their offices to head home. PATTARACHAI PRECHAOPANICH

All the city can do now is focus on protecting important places including the Grand Palace, Siriraj Hospital and Don Mueang airport, which is where the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) is cited, he said.

The BMA will work with the Highways Department to build a 3m floodwall stretching about 39km to protect the east of Bangkok. The flood barrier will run from Sai Mai road, through Hathai Rat Road, Hathai Mitr Road, Nimitr Mai Road, Rom Klao Road and King Kaew Road.
The advancing flood waters yesterday forced an evacuation of up to 4,000 people taking shelter at the airport.

The runoff has swept through the rear of Don Mueang, swamping parts of its runway. Airports of Thailand Plc has declared the airport's runway will be closed until Tuesday. Sandbags have been stacked to protect the airport from the floods as the evacuees were moved out to a shelter centre at the Physical Education College in Chon Buri.

Froc spokesman Wim Rungwattanajinda said the agency will continue to operate on the second floor of the airport's domestic passenger terminal building and will not relocate elsewhere.
Flood victims, hands full with essential supplies, wait for large vehicles on the flooded Kanchanaphisek ring road to drive them out of the area. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD
Floodwaters at the airport are expected to reach no more than 1m, he said.

Don Muang district office chief Phumiphat Damrongkiatisak said all of Don Muang district was submerged as the Khlong 1 sluice gate in Rangsit could not be closed, allowing a substantial volume of runoff to spread through the area.

The local road near Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, areas near Khlong Prem Prachakorn, and the Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in front of the airport were under 80cm of water. However, the water level in Khlong Prapa has returned to normal and floods in Lak Si district and Chaeng Wattana Road have receded as a result.

Flooding in Bang Phlat district worsened yesterday with fresh areas being inundated and much of Charan Sanitwong road submerged.

There were reports of embankments being breached at several sections of the embankment along the Chao Phraya River on the Thon Buri side.
A foreign tourist takes a picture of the floods outside the Grand Palace. PATIPAT JANTHONG
An aerial view of the flooded Thupatemee Stadium intersection. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN
Foreign tourists help to control floodwater as it threatens to flow into a roadside shophouse on Samsen Road in Phra Nakhon district yesterday. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN
Monks and laymen reinforce sandbags to keep water out of the compound of Wat Phosoppolcharoen in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district. RATTASEEMA PONGSAN
Workers at Dusit Zoo move endangered animals including four goat-like serows, or liang-pha , to Khao Khiew open zoo in Chon Buri’s Si Racha district. APICHART JINAKUL
Public Relations Department staff pack about 10,000 records for transportation to safety. APICHART JINAKUL
Bags of garbage float in front of an access road to Wat Rangsit in Pathum Thani. THITI WANNAMONTHA
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