Sunday, November 6, 2011

BMA gives Froc crisis ultimatum

Bangkok Post


The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has given the government an ultimatum to start cooperating or it will ditch the existing plans it has to tackle the city's floods.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday the BMA would come up with a new flood management plan if the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) does not spell out by tomorrow how it will cooperate in tackling the floods.

The BMA asked the Froc to provide water pumps and speed up flood drainage operations a week ago, but it had not received any response, the governor said.

City Hall also asked Froc to instruct the Royal Irrigation Department to open its 20 sluice gates in Nong Chok district to speed up water drainage to Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao province, but only nine of 20 sluice gates had been opened.

"If the BMA doesn't get tangible support from the Froc within 48 hours, we will review our flood management plan," MR Sukhumbhand said. He did not elaborate.

Froc yesterday ordered additional pumps from Korea and Japan, and appealed to the private sector to donate pumps.

The Irrigation Department, on behalf of the government, denied it was refusing to cooperate. It said the BMA asked the wrong agency for the loan of pumps.

The growing dispute between the Froc and BMA came as the flood crisis worsened in several parts of Bangkok.

The governor said overflow from Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and Lat Phrao intersection was likely to reach Din Daeng, Saphan Kwai, and the Victory Monument within days since Bang Sue canal, which is an important water drainage route in the area, was swollen and could not take more water.

City Hall declared some parts of Din Daeng district as special surveillance areas. They are Rim Khlong Bang Sue community, Yu Charoen Housing Estate, Soi Inthamara 41 and Yu Charoen Housing Estate Phase 3.

Residents in those areas should move their belongings to higher ground and prepare for evacuation.

On Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, water on the road's inbound lanes in front of St John University was about 30cm.

The government was confident, however, that flooding in the northern part of the city would ease following the completion of the first six kilometres of the big-bag flood barrier on Saturday night.

Transport Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat said Froc has completed the big bag barrier, made of thousands of giant sand bags, to the north of Bangkok. The barrier runs from Lak Hok, Chulalongkorn sluice gate, the area above Don Mueang airport, to Khlong Sam Wa. Each bag weighs 2.5 tonnes.

The barrier was intended to stop flooding from the North that has been moving into central Bangkok within seven days.

For Thon Buri, in the western part of Bangkok, the BMA has issued an evacuation alert for residents in Soi Charan Sanitwong 13 and Tha Phra subdistrict in Bangkok Yai district and four subdistricts in Phasi Charoen district.

The four subdistricts are Khlong Khwang, Bang Duan, Bang Waek and Bang Chak.

MR Sukhumbhand added the BMA has been considering declaring two more subdistricts_Khuha Sawan and Bang Wa _ in Phasi Charoen district as evacuation areas.

City Hall also requires the Froc's assistance in instructing the Royal Irrigation Department to help drain floodwater in Thon Buri into the Sanam Chai-Mahachai canal and the Tha Chin River as soon as possible, said the Bangkok governor.

Water levels between Bang Kae and the Tha Phra intersections are about 85cm on average.
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