Angry residents block new flood barrier Skip to main content

Angry residents block new flood barrier

Bangkok Post

Hundreds of unhappy residents of a flood-hit community prevented irrigation officials from blocking the natural flow of water in a major canal in Ayutthaya on Monday, saying they had already suffered enough to save Bangkok from flooding.

More than 300 residents from several flood-ravaged communities in Uthai and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya districts gathered at a bridge across Khlong Khaomao at kilometre marker 14 on the Asia Highway in Uthai district.

Workers instructed by irrigation officials were driving sheet piling into the canal beneath the bridge there to block the natural flow of the waterway in a bid to save downstream areas from flooding.

Khlong Khaomao receives a large volume of water from the Pasak river, before the water flows to Pathum Thani province's Khlong Nueng canal, by passing the Hantra field, the Rojana Industrial Park in Uthai district and the eastern area of Bang Pa-in district.

Uthai district chief Rewat Prasong rushed to the scene to hold talks with the angry residents. After more than one hour of the talks, it was agreed to halt the work.

It was agreed sheet piling would not be installed in the canal at this time. However, work could resume if the water level in the canal recedes by 20 centimetres.

Mrs Cha-em Limsawat, 53, of Pak Khlong Khaomao village, said floodwater in the Hantra field had risen to four to five metres, affecting hundreds of households in several communities living nearby. The field receives water from Khlong Khaomao canal.

If the water flow in the canal is blocked, the water level at Hantra field would quicky rise even higher, she said.

She said people were angry that the authorities were blocking the natural flow of water to shield Bangkok and Pathum Thani from flooding at the expense of Ayutthaya province.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva renewed his call for the government to invoke the emergency decree in provinces badly hit by floods.

Mr Abhisit said the government should not hesitate to declare a state of emergency to tackle the severe floods as there had been conflicts over floodwater management at several inundated locations.

"The Pheu Thai-led government should not worry more about the negative impact on its image if the special law is invoked to tackle the flood crisis," said the opposition leader.

Mr Abhisit said the decree, if invoked in the flood-affected provinces, would enable the army to efficiently tackle the problem.

The former prime minister also accused the government's Flood Relief Operations Centre of underestimating the flood situation.

He suggested that the government turn the Don Mueang cargo warehouse into an emergency shelter for flood victims.

He also expressed his concern over possible flooding at a shelter at Thammasat University's Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani as areas around the campus were already flooded.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said this morning the capital city is not yet safe from the flooding.

MR Sukhumbhand said, however, the flood situation in Bangkok was not yet critical.

The situation in upper Bangkok, particularly in Sai Mai district, was the most worrying.

There were reports that flood barricades in many areas had been breached and Khlong Sam Wa district might be affected, the Democrat party governor said.

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