Sunday, October 23, 2011

Govt makes barriers off-limits

The government has declared water gates and flood barriers special control zones as it struggles not only with the disaster but also with interference from protesting affected residents.
Sales rush
People wade through floodwater to buy food at SiMumMuang market in Rangsit. Many residents are stockpiling as food shortages are reported in some areas. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

The provincial governors of Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya yesterday announced water gates, flood barriers and water pump stations had been declared off-limits to the public.

The announcement, issued under Section 31 of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act, prohibits any persons from disrupting the authorities' disaster management works and gives powers to local administrative officials to remove or destroy any structures that obstruct disaster control operations.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered the closure of Phra-in Racha sluice gate in Khlong Raphipat in Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya province, adjacent to Khlong 1 in Khlong Luang district of Pathum Thani yesterday.
Atwo-metre-long crocodile captured in flooded Cholada housing estate in Nonthaburi’sBang Bua Thong district. PATIPAT JANTHONG

The order came after week-long opposition from locals. The failure to close the sluice gate sent floodwater from Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya through Khlong 1 to Rangsit in Pathum Thani and further to Khlong Prem Prachakorn, which flows down to Bangkok.

Run-off from Pathum Thani and overflow from Khlong Prem Prachakorn has already flooded northern Bangkok.

Ms Yingluck ordered police to guard the Phra-in sluice gate and had Chatchawal Panyawatheenant, deputy director-general of the Irrigation Department, hold the key of the gate.

Irrigation officials, however, could not close the sluice gate due to strong flood currents.
The announcements by the governors and the Prime Minister followed confrontations between the locals and authorities over flood relief measures.

On Saturday night, a group of tambon Khukot villagers in Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district tried to disrupt the construction of a dyke by officials working to prevent floodwater flowing into Khlong Prem Prachakorn.

The villagers feared the dyke would prevent water from being drained out of their district. Gunshots were heard at the scene but there were no injuries. The officials were forced to retreat.

The prime minister yesterday expressed her concern about Don Muang and Laksi districts in northern Bangkok, which could suffer flooding from the northern runoff, and increasing water levels in Khlong Prem Prachakorn and Khlong Prapa.
Adog, abandoned by its owner, nowlives at the evacuation centre atThammasatUniversity’s Rangsit campus. THITIWANNAMONTHA

She said floodwater would be drained through Bangkok's canals into the sea and told city residents it was inevitable they would be affected to some extent.

Overflows continued to flood areas near waterways in northern and some central parts of Bangkok yesterday.

Floods were expanding in Don Muang and Laksi districts because officials failed to block the water at Phra-in Racha sluice gate and repair a broken dyke along Khlong 2 in Pathum Thani.

Residents destroyed another part of the dyke under Khlong 2 bridge on Phahon Yothin Road, allowing floodwater to flow through Lam Luk Ka and into Khlong Prem Prachakorn.

Floods covered sections of Phahon Yothin Road in front of the National Memorial, the entrance of Don Mueang airport and the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters, as well as Song Prapha Road and Chaeng Watthana Road between Khlong Prapa and the government complex.

Communities along Khlong 2 in Sai Mai were 10-40cm under water.

Phahon Yothin Soi 54/1, which runs parallel to Khlong 2, was also slightly flooded.
However, the dyke along Khlong Hok Wa from Rittiyawannalai 2 School to the southern sluice gate of Khlong 2 remained higher than the level of the canal, despite its levels rising by about 30cm yesterday.

Officials and volunteers continued working to elevate the dyke and guard it around the clock.
In inner Bangkok, a dyke was elevated to 3.5 metres in Khiew Khai Ka community by the Chao Phraya River on Sam Sen Road in Dusit district to protect the road from overflow.
Some locals left their houses when power was cut as a safety measure.

Nearby Rajinibon School was 70-80cm under water as the flood pushed through the foundations of its concrete fence.

Officials sped up the draining of water out of Khlong Prapa to reduce the volume of water flowing into the canal, easing flooding along Liap Khlong Prapa and Prachachuen roads yesterday.

Pramote Maiklad, former director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department who was advising the flood drainage, told a press conference at the government's Flood Relief Operations Command at Don Mueang airport yesterday that all parties in the government sector agreed that floodwater from Bangkok's northern outskirts had to be drained through canals in the eastern districts of the capital and Samut Prakan province into the sea.

Mr Pramote said he had also discussed this with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and confirmed that City Hall's flood management plan was in accordance with the government's.
Aboy hugs a chunk of styrofoam while enjoying a dip at WatLum Khongkharam community in Nonthaburi’s Bang Kruai district. PATIPATJANTHONG
Awomanpaddles a cement mixing tub past WatLum KhongkharamSchool in Bang Kruai district of Nonthaburi. PATIPAT JANTHONG
Soldiers help people in communities near the Phra-in Racha sluice gate in Ayutthayawade through strong flood currents. The water wastoo powerful for officials to close the sluice gate to save northern Bangkok from flooding yesterday. PATTANAPONGHIRUNARD
A monk inspects flooding in Wat Lum Khongkharam temple in Bang Kruai district of Nonthaburi. The temple was flooded as a dyke by the Chao Phraya River collapsed. PATIPAT JANTHONG
The construction site for parking at the Purple Line of Bangkok’s electric rail link on Boromratchonnanee Road is submerged. SURAPOLPROMSAKANA SAKOLNAKORN
Authorities build a dyke to block floodwater flowing into KhlongPrem Prachakorn in front ofWat RangsitinPathumThani’s Muangdistrict, despite opposition by residents nearby. THITI WANNAMONTHA
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