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More districts evacuated

Bangkok Post

Chao Phraya to peak at 6pm on Saturday

Floods have become more widespread in many parts of Bangkok and residents in Don Muang, Bang Phlad and Thawi Wattana districts have been urged to evacuate to safety immediately.

The alert was issued yesterday by Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra after inspecting flood levels in Bangkok areas.

MR Sukhumbhand said 90% of Don Muang district has already been submerged by rising floodwaters.
The governor also urged residents in Bang Phlad district to move their belongings to high ground and evacuate to nearby shelter centres as the flood situation in the district is now critical, with 70% of the district now under high levels of water.

It is the first time that flood evacuation alerts have been issued in the two districts, he said.
He added that two more districts - Wang Thong Lang and Lat Phrao - are now under close watch.

MR Sukhumbhand also warned residents in 13 districts living outside the flood barriers on the banks of the Chao Phraya River to prepare for evacuations as the water level will peak as a result of high sea tides in coming days.

Flooding in western Bangkok has also worsened as the massive flow of run-off from Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani spread through Thawi Wattana district yesterday, prompting evacuations.

Thawi Wattana district chief Prapat Thirapongthorn said the flood situation in the district is worsening as a substantial volume of floodwater from Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani is flowing into the Chao Phraya River, which breached its banks, inundating riverside and canalside communities.

Residents along riverbanks and on the banks of Khlong Maha Sawat are urged to leave immediately, Mr Prapat said, adding the overflow will continue to rise further in the next few days.

He stressed the floods will be very severe and the areas at risk must be evacuated straight away.

Evacuation shelters have been set up at schools run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in the district.

Meanwhile, advancing runoff from Vibhavadi Rangsit Road reached Lak Si intersection near IT Square department store. The waters were about 60cm high.
Vice-Admiral Nirut Hongprasit, director-general of the Royal Thai Navy's Hydrographic Department, said the Chao Phraya River's water level is predicted to reach its peak at 2.65m after 6pm on Saturday. The peak level should last no more than 30 minutes, he said.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday there was no need at this stage to relocate the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) even though Don Mueang Airport, where the command is based, is swamped.

Ms Yingluck said she will consider again whether the Froc should be elsewhere as moving evacuees taking shelter at the airport is a priority. She expected relocation of all the evacuees will be finished today.

She said the Froc can continue to work on the second floor of the airport's passenger terminal building and that she is also look at the possibility of holding video conferences to coordinate flood management efforts. She rejected suggestions that relocating the Froc would be tantamount to a loss of face or embarrassment for the command, which could not even protect its own turf from inundation.

"I am not afraid [of a loss of face]," Ms Yingluck said, adding that if the Froc is to relocate, it needs to be sure that its new headquarters are convenient and functional.

Froc spokesman Wim Rungwattanajinda said the prime minister actually did not want to relocate anywhere, but many Froc personnel are now having a hard time commuting to the Froc at the airport as many parts of Bangkok have been inundated.

Mr Wim said the Froc must find other places to accommodate many staff. Top of the list is the Supachalasai National Stadium. Others include Government House, the civil service complex on Chaeng Watthana Road, and Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.

However, a source at the Froc said floodwaters are continuing to rise, making Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in front of the Froc impassable.

Efforts are being made to move evacuees out of the shelter at Don Mueang airport while the Froc will be relocated to Supachalasai National Stadium in the few days.

Evacuation shelters are being readied to accommodate hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Bangkok in such provinces as Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi and Chon Buri.

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