Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Western Bangkok bearing large brunt of the flood

Western Bangkok bearing large brunt of the flood

Western Bangkok looks set to bear the brunt of the flooding as run-off water from upstream continues to enter the capital.

Several districts of Bangkok, meanwhile, now have a high chance of being spared inundation. They include Phasi Charoen, Sathon, Din Daeng, Pom Prab, Suan Luang, Pathum Wan and Phya Thai, according to Deputy Bangkok Governor Thirachon Manomaipiboon.

He said some districts of western Bangkok, such as Bang Khunthien, would very likely be spared too.

"The chance is about 20 per cent," Thirachon said.

Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee, speaking in his capacity as operations chief at the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC), said between 80 and 90 per cent of Bangkok's western zone was likely to experience flooding.

"The water is flowing down to the western zone without any flood barrier," Plodprasob said. He believed that the house of Deputy Premier Chalerm Yoobamrung, which is in Bang Bon, would be flooded as well.

Plodprasob said there was about 8 billion cubic metres of run-off in areas north of the capital. Large amounts of this were expected to flow through areas on both sides of Bangkok, but Plodprasob said the west would face the biggest impact.

"After it sweeps past Bangkok's western zone, it will go to Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom before it is directed to the sea," he said.

As of press time, run-off water in Bangkok's west had swamped the inbound Borommaratchachonnanee Road in Taling Chan district.

But he assured Bangkok residents that the run-off would not suddenly rush into people's neighbourhoods.

"It will flow slowly," he explained. He said the sun would evaporate a sizeable portion of water.

As for eastern Bangkok, Plodprasob said run-off there would move slowly, and there was a good chance Lat Krabang Industrial Estate would be spared.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday assured the public that the flood situation had improved.

Asked whether the crisis had bottomed out in Bangkok, Yingluck said, "I think so".

Yet, flooding remained a big problem in many parts of the capital yesterday. Water had spread to wider areas and more roads were impassable.

Lat Phrao District Office director Bophit Saengkaew said relevant officials were closely monitoring the situation and if floods became serious, locals would be evacuated. There were six evacuation centres in Lat Phrao district.

"We have tried to reinforce flood barriers and use pumps to drain water," he said.

He spoke after Don Muang and Sai Mai districts were fully flooded. Kasetsart University was also inundated. In the face of rising floodwater, the 11th Infantry Regiment also had to move military supplies and weapons to safe places.

Many people were seen travelling along the heavily flooded Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in boats and rafts.

Don Mueang Airport, which had been home to FROC till Saturday, also saw water levels rising. Many planes have been parked on the flooded runway.

In inner Bangkok, sandbag walls went up at key places on Rajdamnoen Nok, including the Agriculture, Transport and Education ministries, the Army headquarters, Parliament House and Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall was also surrounded with thick barriers and sandbags.

The high tide pushed the Chao Phraya River to a record level yesterday, sending water into many spots including Rama III Road. The spill-over was well under control, however, officials said.
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