Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Froc admits it really doesn't know

Bangkok Post

The government's Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) on Wednesday conceded that it really could not say if the Victory Monument area and Rama 2 Road would be inundated by the flood.
Photo by Patipat Janthong
Responding to growing public anxiety, the Froc director, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, said it was very difficult to evaluate the flood situation because the water was moving underground through the city's sewers.

The Victory Monument area is regarded as the heart of the capital, and Rama 2 Road is the main and last remaining dry route to the South from Bangkok.

It was impossible to control the floodwater flowing into the underground sewers and that was worrying, Pol Gen Pracha said.

The best the Froc could do was pin its hopes on the water drainage system of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), which was in full operation to drain the flood out of the capital through its eastern areas.

Pol Gen Pracha said the flood command centre was working with the BMA's Department of Drainage and Sewerage and as far as he was concerned, the draining of the water was satisfactory in all spots.

He rejected comments by academics that the "big bag" flood barriers were capable of blocking the floodwaters for a week at the most. Big bags are huge clumped, bags weighing about 2.5 tonnes each.

The minister said he could assure the public that the barriers could hold back the water for one more month at least.

Flood prevention workers had already laid the big bags of sand as a first 18km long flood barrier stretching from Khlong Prem Prachakorn southward. The wall cuts across Vibhavadi Rangsit Road through the northern boundary of Don Mueang airport.

The presence of the big bags has frustrated residents in the area because they feel it will only make things worse for them.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra (second right) explains flood situation to Flood Relief Operations Centre director Pracha Promnok (right) on Oct 15, 2011. (Photo by Pongpat Wongyala)
The Froc director said he was confident that local officials would be able to explain to them why it was necessary.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the flood from the North has flowed on to parts of Rama 2 Road in Thon Buri district.

MR Sukhumbhand said BMA officials have been working around the clock to combat the massive northern runoff, which has already inundating several districts in the western part of the capital.

The BMA will also offer jobs paying 300 baht a day to people to collect uncollected garbage in 18 flooded districts. The job offer would be open for 30 days, he said.

The city governor declared more areas in Khannayao district flood evacuation zones.

They are the areas of Sois 6, 21, 23 and 31 in Ram-Intra subdistrict and Kanchanaphisek, Ram-Intra and Serithai roads in Khannayao sub-district.

Lat Phrao subdistrict in Lat Phrao district, Min Buri and Bang Kapi areas were declared a special watch area.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported that a total of 529 people were now confirmed dead and two people were missing in the great flood.

Two more people were confirmed dead yesterday in central province of Phichit.

Today, flooding still prevailed in 24 of the 77 provinces and was affecting about 2.8 million people from 1.1 million households.

Since mid-July the floods have affected about 3.3 million households and about 11.3 million people in 64 of 77 provinces, the department said.
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