Flood waters bear down on capital Skip to main content

Flood waters bear down on capital

PM admits govt may not be able to avert disaster

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last night told people in parts of Bangkok and elsewhere in the Central Plains to brace for severe flooding, as she admitted her government was almost at its wits' end dealing with the disaster.
Last statue standing
A giant statue of the late revered monk Luang Pu Thuad that is situated by the Asian Highway in Ang Thong province is surrounded by flood water in this aerial photo taken on Thursday. — SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN
Already the whole of nearby Ayutthaya province has been declared a disaster area as the deluge continues to bear down on the capital, having started in the North of the country and affecting 30 provinces so far.
In a televised address last night, Ms Yingluck spoke of the grim situation facing Bangkok and its neighbours.
She said despite concerted efforts by government agencies, she feared authorities would not be able to fully contain the incoming flood waters.
"The widespread flood problem is reaching crisis level, the worst in decades." — YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA PRIME MINISTER
"The widespread flood problem is reaching crisis level, the worst in decades," said the premier.
She said the volume of water had exceeded estimates and the storage capacity of reservoirs and torrents have damaged a number of flood gates.
The government's priority is to speed up the diversion of flood water into the sea before the deluge - about 7,000 million cubic metres - flows down to the Central Plains from the upper North via Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet, Phitsanulok and Nakhon Sawan soon.
"If we cannot divert the flood water into the sea, it will cause extensive damage to the provinces in its path," said the prime minister.
She also voiced concerns about the Meteorological Department's forecast of low-pressure systems, saying the reservoirs were unlikely to be able to absorb more rain.
She said the Chao Phraya Dam, which can release water at a rate of 3,570 cu m of water per second, must bring its work up to speed to ease the impacts on downstream provinces such as Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Lop Buri and Ayutthaya.
Ms Yingluck said flood diversion efforts would become more difficult at peak tide between Oct 15 and 17, when the flow is expected to reach Bangkok.
Fifty-nine provinces across the country have so far been damaged in some way by the floods, with 30 being badly hit and 252 people being killed.
A flood relief operation centre has been set up at Don Mueang airport and will begin 24-hour operations from today. It will integrate flood relief and preventive tasks of all agencies, including warning issuance, data gathering, plan development and providing advice and information to the public.
Justice Minister Pracha Promnok was appointed as the centre's director and acting permanent secretary for Interior Pranai Suwannarat is deputy director.
Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi is chief of operations, covering evacuation and flood preventive tasks, and Transport Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat is directing chief, covering warning and relief systems.
The centre has opened a round-the-clock call centre at 1111 ext 5.
"All parties must join hands to face a crisis which threatens lives and our way of life," she said.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has already opened 90% of its water sluice gate. The city could drain out 1 million cubic metres of water per day to the sea, he said.
The governor said it was now difficult to speed up draining as the levels in all waterways in the city are very high.
Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa said the Defence Ministry has ordered all military units to offer assistance and shelter to flood-affected people in their neighbourhoods.
Those people could evacuate to nearby military camps, he said.
Water levels in the reservoirs of all dams in northern provinces have already reached maximum capacities. Those dams will have to release water, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut said.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has played down fears over a series of storms hitting the country.
Watcharee Virapun, director of its Weather Forecast Bureau, said there were no significant indicators of a series of storms hitting Thailand in the near future.
It warned, however, that the central provinces, including Bangkok, are still under the influence of a low pressure system which will bring more rain until next week.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/260279/flood-waters-bear-down-on-capital

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