Saturday, October 22, 2011

Market cleared, estate evacuated, trains disrupted

Market cleared, estate evacuated, trains disrupted

Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi are heavily submerged after flood water rages through Prapa canal and continues to rise. After days of struggling with flood prevention supported by 4.5metre flood barriers, Bang Kadee industrial estate in Pathum Thani has been submerged, with damage to all 47 factories estimated at Bt30 billion.

Panic reigned at Rangsit market which is under 1metre of flood water and evacuation is underway by most vendors and residents who did not expect it. Flood water is spilling over the Chulalongkorn floodgate in addition to a huge influx travelling southward through Prapa canal.

With help from the military, the Bang Kadee estate was completely evacuated from dawn to noon yesterday, but many workers were stranded by a shortage of shelters for them.

A deputy mayor of Rangsit municipality, Decha Klinkusum, described the situation as most critical, and blamed the collapse of a sandbag wall section as the main reason. A number of local residents also sabotaged sandbag walls around the market and a key road.

Two major malls Future Park Rangsit and Major Cineplex have been closed for three days while Chulalongkorn watergate police station is also flooded.

A key junction a Phaholyothin Road section south of Rangsit canal has been blocked for small vehicles following flooding, prompting heavy congestion, while tollway entrances have been closed because many cars have been parked on the elevated road.

Rangsit-Chiang Rak trains have been suspended due to flooding and an extra shorterdistance service is available. All 18 northbound longdistance trains are suspended while all 12 northeastbound trains can travel using bypass routes to Chachoengsao, said the government Flood Relief Operations Centre citing a State Railways of Thailand statement. All commuters must board the trains at Hua Lamphong terminal in Bangkok.

Wat Suan Kaew in Nonthaburi said it could accommodate another 500 flood evacuees on top of the 500 now residing there. Abbot Phra Phayom said there were enough flood and relief supplies for all 1,000 evacuees. He called on the government to cope better with the flood situation next year.

Pathum Thani hospital remains open despite 90cm flood water surrounding it, servicing both inpatients and providing seven mobile medical teams to treat residents and patients at nearby shelters. The provincial public health office said there were 293,378 residents in 382 villages in seven districts affected by flooding.

There are nearly 12,000 evacuees living in 49 shelters set up in the province including largescale sites which can house more than 200 evacuees. Calls for emergency medical help can be made at 1669 or 025988745, said Dr Theerachai Khongiamtrakool, the office’s head
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