Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Evacuation plan readied

 Ref: Babgkok Post
The capital's 50 district offices have been told to prepare for evacuations as northern Bangkok's last line of defence is close to being breached by flood water.
Race against time Military personnel bring more sandbags to strengthen flood barricades to try to save the floodravaged Bang Bua Thong market in Nonthaburi’s Bang Bua Thong municipality. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

The red alert was sent out by Bangkok governor ML Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday after inspecting the floodwall at Muang Ake housing estate in Pathum Thani's Muang district — less than 15km north of the city.

The governor warned 27 communities in eastern Bangkok would probably be hardest hit.
The floodwall has been built with more than 200,000 sandbags. It is 3km long and stands 1.5m high.

City Hall workers yesterday were sent to reinforce the embankment and make it 30cm higher.

"If the water keeps rising, I am not sure if it can prevent flooding. If not, we cannot save Don Muang," ML Sukhumbhand said.

"All zones in Bangkok stand an equal chance of being flooded because we can't predict the water flow.

"Right now, everything is under control.

"If we can't control it, we will let people know straight away."

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said about 8 billion cubic metres of water from Nakhon Sawan is expected to reach Ayutthaya tomorrow and the run-off would probably enter Bangkok soon after.

"We must speak the truth," she said, adding the government will do everything it can to divert water to the east and the west of Bangkok and drain it out to sea.

Ms Yingluck said the three floodwalls protecting the inner city are expected to be completed by today.

Around 1.7 million sandbags have been brought in to build and strengthen floodwalls at Muang Ake housing estate, Rangsit Khlong 5, and in the Taling Chan area behind the Salaya campus of Mahidol University.

Areas outside the protected zone are flood-prone but water will quickly drain away, she said.
Efforts to prevent flooding will continue in provinces where prevention is possible.

For areas where floodwalls are breached, evacuation plans must be in place, she added.

"Priority must be given to the safety of the people before protecting their property," she said.

Wim Rungwattanajinda, spokesman for the flood relief centre, said the government has ordered the Irrigation Department to step up efforts to drain water in western Bangkok and eastern Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand.

Northern run-off will be diverted to western Bangkok through Khlong Phraphimol, Khlong Lat Pho, Khlong Maha Sawat and Khlong Phasi Charoen before the water is drained out to the Tha Chin River and the Gulf.

The Irrigation Department has been instructed to put in place water pumps to divert water from the canals to the Gulf and to open more than 20 water gates along the Tha Chin River and the Chao Phraya River to drain water to the sea.

Mr Wim said emphasis will be placed on diverting water from Khlong Maha Sawat, which directly connects with Tha Chin and Chao Phraya, and this could affect canal-side residents. However, the situation will improve after Sunday, he said.
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