Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flood centre tells Bangkokians to take a vacation

The government's Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) has advised people in Bangkok to leave the capital for their own safety this long weekend, if they can.
The centre said on Thursday that Bangkokians should take the opportunity during the special long holiday weekend to visit tourist destinations or to go and stay with relatives in flood-free provinces.

The suggestions came after a prediction that the floodwater from the North will peak in Bangkok soon, and be made worse by peak high tides from Oct 28 to 31, which will cause the floodwaters from the North to bank up.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said not all districts in the capital will be flooded.

"As the person in charge of Bangkok, I believe that the water will not flood every district of Bangkok and some districts might not be inundated," MR Sukhumbhand said.

He said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is doing its best to protect the capital.

"We're considering whether we should order an evacuation of Tawee Wattana district as the flood situation there is worrying," the governor said after more water surged into Tawee Wattana canal.

This morning, MR Sukhumbhand said people in Bangkok's Sai Mai district should evacuate to safer ground as the water level in the area was rising.

Airports of Thailand (AOT) acting director Somchai Sawasdipol said the Suvarnabhumi management planned to open a parking area east of the airport to take up to 1,500 flood evacuees.

Mr Somchai said the shelter was intended to take mainly people living around the airport since the area is designated to take floodwater diverted east of Bangkok.

A building would also be opened to accommodate some 200 staff who have problems travelling to work at the airport, he said.

The shelter area to be opened would be provided with mobile toilets and tents.

Defence spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng said about 50,000 soldiers from the three armed forces were now on standby to help flood-hit people evacuate under a plan approved by the cabinet to cope with flooding in Bangkok.

Col Thanathip said the soldiers would have a total of 1,000 boats and 1,000 trucks for use in the evacuation.

More than 100 schools in 23 districts of Bangkok would be opened to take up to 10,000 people, especially those from Don Mueang, Sai Mai, Bang Phlat, and Thawi Watthana districts.

If the situation deteriorates, Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Surasawadi has the authority to decide whether to order all people in Bangkok to evacuate, Col Thanathip said.

He said the evacuation would be carried out with the help of the 1st Army, the Interior Ministry and the BMA.
People rushing out of Bangkok taking refuge from the flood are finding it difficult to find rooms for rent in the resort town of Pattaya, as nearly all hotel rooms are occupied.
Hua Hin and surrounding areas were also reported to be filling quickly

In Pattaya, about 80 per cent of hotel rooms were already occupied by tourists from Russia and Europe, leaving only a few for those fleeing the flood in Bangkok.

Patcharin Sawetrat, assistant director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Pattaya office, said most hotels were reporting 85 per cent occupancy or more.

Of the 1,000 or so rooms still unoccupied, the hotels agreed to TAT's request that they reduce the room rate by 50-70 per cent to enable the people from Bangkok to stay from two weeks to one month.

Mrs Patcharin said there were still rooms available at condominiums, houses for rent, serviced apartments and guesthouses.  However, most of them prefer to lease their rooms with monthly or yearly contracts.

Most of the flood refugees wanted to stay for only two weeks to one month, she said.
Bangkok Post
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