Monday, October 17, 2011

Evacuations ordered as Nava Nakorn defences breached

Evacuations ordered as Nava Nakorn defences breached

The National Flood Relief Centre Monday ordered an urgent evacuation of workers in the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani and nearby residents after the primary flood prevention dyke ruptured in two locations and floodwaters started to pour into the estate.


Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra immediately said she was sorry that the government was unable to protect the industrial estate.

She said the government was rushing to inspect and bolster other embankments following the collapse of the second flood barriers defending Nava Nakorn.

National Flood Relief Centre director Pol Gen Pracha Promnog instructed factories in the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate to stop production and remove their workers as well as critical supplies and industrial support equipment to higher ground after 10 per cent of the overall area started to flood.

The ruptures occurred at two locations. The first breach was six metres long while the second in the second row of the floodwall was of 30 metres in length. Floodwater continued to pour into the estate as 500 local residents and the military rushed to pile more sandbags to plug the broken wall.

Two factories were initially affected by the flood - a steel rod factory and the Kubota machinery facility.

The evacuation order was issued live on TV at 12.30pm by Deputy Police Commissioner-General Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen and Wim Rungwattanachinda, the spokesman of the relief centre. At 11.45am,even before the national relief centre went on TV to announce the order, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, the head of the relief centre, issued the evacuation order to government agencies concerned.

Evacuees will be sheltered at Thammasat University's Rangsit Campus, Dhammakaya Temple, Thanayburi district office and the government complex in Chaeng Wattana.

Residents, factory owners and workers were told to comply with the government's evacuation order and local residents should be prepared for evacuation once the officials reach them.

Pongsapat said the Dhammakaya evacuation centre could shelter some 5,000 evacuees while the centre at the Thanyaburi district office could accommodate 20,000 people.

He added the Government Complex could shelter 1,000 more evacuees while the Rangsit campus of Thammasat could shelter 3,000 more people.

The factories in the Nava Nakorn have been also advised to move important office files and other belongings to higher ground.

Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate Director Nipit Arunvongse Na Ayudhya said the water has flooded certain area and believes the situation is under control at the moment.

He said each company had built its own flood prevention around its factory and that water is pouring into the pond rather than breaching the defences of the factories themselves.

The Flood Relief Operations Centre reportedly planned to use Chinook transport helicopters to drop four tonnes of cargo containers to back up the dyke.
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