Thursday, November 3, 2011

More closures, evacuation as waters enter

The Nation

Flood waters are creeping along major roads in northern Bangkok heading towards the inner city, with the lead influx on Phaholyothin Road reaching Major Ratchayothin mall complex. In the eastern run-off, the deluge is closing on Fashion Island on Ram Inthra Road.

Vibhavadi Hospital at the corner of the highway with the same name at the junction of Ngarmwongwan Road is under 80 centimetres of water and is considering temporary closure. It requested military trucks transfer a number of patients. A city bus terminus in front of Thai Public Broadcasting Service headquarters off the highway has moved away, prompting commuters to rely on a military truck service.

Residents in Sena Niwet housing estate are evacuating in the face of a fast-rising flood while the entire Kasetsart University campus is under water. Central Ram Inthra near Lak Si Intersection has closed indefinitely because of high flood levels, as has a National Housing Authority estate at the Kilometre 4 marker, which is submerged to chest level.

On the Thon Buri side, the underground car park of The Mall Bang Khae is flooded, forcing indefinite closure, while both the inbound and outbound lanes of Phetkasem Road from Sois 1 to 60 are inundated.

A major canal near Bang Chan Industrial Estate in eastern Bangkok is brimming, possibly as a result of leakage through partial demolition of the Klong Sam Wa sluice gate. Pheu Thai MP Wicharn Meenchainant, representing the district, later denied the leakage at this floodgate had anything to do with the Bang Chan estate being put at greater risk of flooding.

Residents near the Lor Lae Canal continue to worry about its swelling, and blame the leakage at Klong Sam Wa watergate, which connects to the canal. Officials manning pumps at the canal said the water was high and rising.

The director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Bhichit Rattakul, said a new flood barrier made of jumbo-sized "big bags" would be erected at Rangsit Canal to prevent further inundation within the Don Mueang Airport compound. It could be dry within four days once the water is pumped out.

Each big bag weighs 2.5 tonnes and covers 1 metre. Big-bag walls consist of two types of material filling - gravel and sand. A quantity of big bags are set to be transported from inner Bangkok to Rangsit on a freight train. The 60-kilometre barrier is stretched along a railway track from Rangsit canal to Don Muang.

Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee said flooding on Bangkok's Thon Buri side should last 15-20 days, and commented that flooding in western Bangkok should be allowed, not resisted. "Why should we fight what cannot be fought?"
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