Scared city folk prepare for the worst Skip to main content

Scared city folk prepare for the worst

Bangkokians got into full flood preparedness mode on Saturday, as city residents started stockpiling food supplies and moving their vehicles to safe ground.
ROADS AWASH: Commuters catch a taxi near Kaset intersection in front of Kasetsart University on Saturday. The area was flooded by heavy rain late on Friday night. PHOTO:

The overnight rainfall which caused flooding in some parts of the city, coupled with Friday's national address by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra admitting that the government was almost at its wits' end to deal with the nationwide flood disaster, created a climate of concern in the capital.

Prime Minister: Bangkok safe - for now
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra called an emergency meeting of concerned agencies Saturday to map out evacuation plans and set up temporary shelters.

Water released from major dams in the North is expected to arrive in Bangkok next week. The most worrying time will be between Oct 16 and 18 when the northern waterflow combined with the high tide and projected heavy rainfall could cause severe flooding in the city, MR Sukhumbhand said.

"I don't want to see any deaths, so we have to be well prepared,'' he said.

Flood surveillance will focus on 27 communities situated outside the flood prevention wall on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River and the eastern part of Bangkok, including Min Buri, Nong Chok, Lat Krabang and Klong Sam Wa districts.

Authorities will also keep a close watch on flood-prone areas such as Vibhavadi Rangsit and Rarm Intra roads.

District offices will act as emergency response centres during the crisis, while Bangkok Metropolitan Administration-run schools will be used as shelters.

City Hall also sent staff to work with officials in the neighbouring province of Pathum Thani to strengthen flood barriers. City officials fear that floodwater from the province could overflow Bangkok's Don Muang, Lak Si and Sai Mai districts without proper management.
Sanya Cheenimit, director of the City Hall's Drainage and Sewerage Department, Saturday said water levels in the Bangkok section of the Chao Phraya River rose to 2.03m, which was still below the 2.5m high flood prevention wall.

The flood warning has prompted many Bangkok residents to stockpile food and drinking water.

Supermarkets were crowded Saturday with shoppers flocking to buy supplies both for their own consumption and for donations.

Krissada Srisiri, a 34-year-old engineer who lives in On Nut, bought 25 bags of rice at Lotus Rama IV, as he feared there may be a rice shortage during the crisis.
Office worker Benjawan Janthong, 44, bought dozens of bottles of water to store at her Sukhumvit house.

Free parking spaces provided by state and private agencies and department stores reportedly filled within hours of opening to residents of flood-prone areas.

Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, who has been appointed the director of the National Flood Relief Centre, said the flood disaster was a national crisis.

The centre has asked the army to send some 100,000 sandbags to Pathum Thani to increase the height of the flood prevention wall there in a bid to safeguard northern Bangkok from flooding.

The centre, located at Don Mueang airport, opened Saturday. Over 20,000 flood-affected people called the 1111 hotline within hours of its opening.

The centre's chief of operations, Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, urged MR Sukhumbhand to help speed up water drainage from flood-ravaged provinces in the Central Plains into the Gulf of Thailand.

The government and the BMA were still not cooperating well enough in terms of water gate management, he said.

Mr Plodprasop said around 1,000 boats would be deployed near the Chao Phraya estuary tomorrow in an operation to push water into the sea. This measure should also ease the deluge in the Central Plains, he said.


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