Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pathum Thani deluge 'out of control'

Pathum Thani deluge 'out of control'

Floodwalls overwhelmed by massive flows racing towards capital, official says

Admitting that the Pathum Thani flood situation was out of control, the Northern Rangsit Irrigation Office predicted yesterday that Bangkok would be inundated.

Office executive Chuchat Supawatthanangkul said the water flowing through Rapeepat Canal had destroyed several parts of the floodwall along Klong Luang district's Canals 1 to 5.

Flowing at 70 cubic metres per second, this water would inundate Klong Luang and Thanyaburi districts, run through the Rangsit Prasertsak Canal and certainly flood Bangkok, he said.

Around noon yesterday, a 3metrelong section of floodwall along the Rangsit Canal at Chulalongkorn sluice gate near Rangsit market collapsed, but officials repaired it as residents were evacuated. As water levels rose, people guarded floodwalls while others strengthened them with sandbags.

At Pathum Thani correctional institution by Canal 5, 500 female inmates were evacuated, but 1,500 male prisoners remained because there was no place to hold them. They tried to pump out flood water seeping into the building, which is protected by a 3metrehigh floodwall.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said his ministry had dispatched officials by boat to help chronic patients, people with disabilities, pregnant women and ailing seniors trapped in flooded homes in Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani.

In Nonthaburi alone, there were 300 patients, but only 100 have been rescued so far.

Hospitals have reserved beds to support another 200 chronically ill patients. Others from these groups should call 1669 around the clock for help.

Thammasat University Rangsit Campus executive Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, as director of the temporary shelter, said that even if flood waters there rose to 1.2 metres, brimming the sandbag barrier around the conference hall, the shelter would not be closed. The 1,800 evacuees on the ground floor would be moved to the gymnasium, which could support up to 5,000.

Floodhit Dream World Fun Park will be closed from today to October 31, while the Future Park Rangsit, Big C and HomePro malls in Thanyaburi district are closed indefinitely because of flooding of surrounding roads.
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