Thursday, October 20, 2011

Govt slammed for lack of boats, relief

Furious residents claim response was too slow

Local authorities are desperate to obtain boats to help residents trapped in flooded houses in Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district as complaints pour in about the government's slow response to the problem.
Military trucks drive through floodwater in the heavily-inundated Bang Bua Thong district of Nonthaburi. The flood problems were aggravated by heavy rain yesterday afternoon.


Naris Pankhem, a resident of Imperial Place housing estate, said there was no warning from the government or local authorities that floodwater in Bang Bua Thong district would rise to more than 1 metre, leaving no time for many residents to prepare for the flooding.

"We have to leave our community immediately," Mr Naris said. "If we stay here, we will be cut off from the outside world. Most of us will evacuate to take refuge at shelters. I believe residents at other flood-hit housing estates are facing the same plight."

The flooding in Bang Bua Thong reached a critical level yesterday as floodwaters kept rising, a source said. Many flood victims were still trapped in their houses as water in some areas rose to almost 2m.

At Ua Arthorn Bang Bua Thong housing estate, water was almost at the ceiling level of the first floor of two-storey houses.

Bang Bua Thong municipality clerk Det Ingkhasit yesterday said the municipality had inadequate boats to evacuate residents and provide relief items to residents trapped in flood-hit communities. Those wanting to donate their boats could contact the municipality.

Ms Chidchanok Long-ngarn, a resident of Seranee Lagoon housing estate in Bang Bua Thong, said floodwater rose to 40cm in the housing estate.

She decided not to evacuate as she had already moved belongings to the upper floor of her flooded house. So far, the electric and water supplies have not been cut off, she said.

The government's Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) yesterday sent boats from the three armed forces and police to help evacuate flood victims in Nonthaburi.

Froc spokesman Wim Rungwattanajinda said boats from the three armed forces and police have been sent to help evacuate residents in Nonthaburi, particularly Bang Bua Thong district. Those wanting to evacuate could contact the centre via the hotline 1131 and tel             02-241-1709      ,             02-504-3569       and             02-534-1911      .

Chaos erupted in Bangkok's Don Muang area at 6pm yesterday when a group of angry residents seized a backhoe from Nonthaburi's Pak Kret municipal workers to destroy an earth dyke at Srisamarn intersection. The dyke was being built to prevent overflow from Khlong Prapa canal.

The residents' action caused water from the canal to inundate areas around the intersection.
Health officials assisted in the evacuation of the disabled, elderly and sick people trapped in their flooded houses in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces to safer places.

People with health problems were rushed to hospitals.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said disabled, elderly and sick people wanting to be evacuated from their houses could contact the ministry via its 1669 hotline.

In Pathum Thani, an embankment at Pinehurst Golf Club in Khlong Luang district gave way yesterday. Many houses and an electronics factory were engulfed in water about 1m to 2m high.

Overflow from Khlong Prem Prachakorn yesterday flooded thousands of houses in tambon Khlong Neung of Khlong Luang district.

Several communities in tambon Bang Pun of Pathum Thani's Muang district on the eastern side of the Chao Phraya River were worst hit. Officials rushed to move flood victims to higher ground as water rose to more than 2m to 3m in tambon Bang Pun.

In Nakhon Pathom, floodwater yesterday ravaged Preuksa 31 housing estate in Buddha Monthon district, affecting more than 400 households. Water was about 1m high.
Bangkok Post
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